DRC Virtual Happy Hours Keep Staff Connected While Working Remote

Gloria Salinas, Managing Director, Economic Development

On Friday, Oct. 30, the Dallas Regional Chamber held its Halloween Costume Contest on Zoom, and it was the 29th virtual Happy Hour for the staff since the start of the pandemic.

And while remote work during a global pandemic can make it hard to feel connected to coworkers over Zoom calls, organizations such as the DRC are adjusting and searching for best practices to build upon and leverage their company culture online.

Since April, the DRC staff has met online every Friday for a themed virtual Happy Hour where staff members have shared everything from odd jobs to favorite travel memories. Other themes have included cooking classes from how to make the best peanut butter and banana sandwich to homemade pasta, a pet parade featuring our furry work-from-home companions, a family history showcase, an at-home scavenger hunt, and more.

The one-hour virtual Happy Hours began to as a team building exercise to dedicate time for staff to unwind during a challenging time and keep them connected while they work from home. Getting to know coworkers in the personal setting of their home with their families and pets nearby has allowed the staff to connect with one another beyond an annual holiday party.

Now more than ever, company culture and employee engagement are critical as we adapt to our virtual office environment.

Here is a list of the DRC’s themed Virtual Happy Hours:

      • Cooking Class – Find those great cooks on your staff to showcase their skills and favorite recipes.
      • Trivia Games – Have a staff member gather trivia for a ‘Jeopardy-style’ game show.
      • Children’s Reading Corner – While staff members balance online learning for children and work, have kids tune in while a staff member reads a children’s story.
      • Children’s Workbook – The summer months and holiday breaks during the pandemic are especially hard for working parents. Have a staff member share a creative children’s workbook or activity to keep learning top-of-mind.
      • Pet Parade – Get to know your coworkers’ furry and feathered work-from-home companions with a fun pet parade. One of our Senior Vice Presidents served as emcee and read a bio for each pet, which included breed, age, favorite treat, and showcased a trick.
      • Share a Piece of History – Have staff share a piece of fun family history to get to know them better.
      • Travel Stories and Memorabilia – There is no doubt we all miss leisure travel to new places, so this is a perfect opportunity to have staff take us to new lands with stories and memorabilia from fun vacations.
      • Talent Show – Everyone has a hidden talent. Find out who can sing, dance, and even lick their elbow with this fun Happy Hour theme.
      • Pivotal Moments – How did career crossroads positively impact your staff? Learn how team members became so good at what they do.
      • Odd Jobs – We all started somewhere before we became polished working professionals. Learn about fun odd jobs your coworkers have had, and what they learned from those experiences that have helped shape their careers.
      • Scavenger Hunt – Gather a list of at-home items and see who can show them on-screen the fastest. Remote anyone?
      • Quarantine Purchases – Online shopping is the new normal, so what has your staff been buying? Have them share their favorite quarantine purchases.
      • Bingeworthy Books and Movies – A lot of TV has been watched and a lot of books have been read during quarantine. What are your favorite staff picks?
      • Favorite Sports Moments – We all really miss the ambiance of sports. Have your staff share their favorite sports memories.
      • Mentors – Invite your team members to bring their mentors along to Happy Hour and learn what makes a great mentor.
      • COVID Routine/Learning Changes – How has the pandemic changed lives and routines of your staff? Learn more about what they like or don’t like about working from home.
      • Best Career Advice Received or Given – On a professional note, have staff share the best career advice they have received or given for your employees to connect.
      • Halloween Costume Contest – The DRC had three Halloween categories for entries: staff, children, and pets.
      • Blues History – Music really has a way of soothing the soul. Invite staff members to share snippets of songs, and history of the artist or work for a fun and educational virtual Happy Hour.

Have ideas or insights? Let us know how you are staying connected to coworkers while working from home.