A virtual team retreat is a way for you to gather remote workers and distributed staff together in a digital environment for teambuilding and socializing. Just like traditional team retreats, the objective of remote team retreats is to promote communication and creativity, while also giving your staff the chance to wind down and relax.
Virtual team retreats are usually less logistically complex and expensive to organize, though they can also be harder to manage and sometimes lack the intimacy of a real-world meetup.
2. 10 Amazing Virtual Retreat Ideas for Organizations
2.1 Virtual Trivia
If you want to level up your virtual retreat quotient, you should not miss virtual trivia by Hooray Teams. This engaging activity offers a unique blend of challenging questions and puzzling riddles, promising an enjoyable experience for you and your team. The best part? A professional host will lead you through 4 to 5 rounds of trivia, ensuring an exciting hour-long session, and you can even personalize the questions to align with your team’s interests.
2.2 Virtual Cocktail Making Class
If you are looking for a mix of fun and flavor in your next virtual retreat, look no further than virtual cocktail making classes by Hooray Teams. It’s not just about the drinks – these classes are an excellent way to socialize and bond with your team. You’ll get to experiment with various ingredients, create mouthwatering drinks, and even compete with your colleagues to see who can prepare the most delightful concoction. Plus, you’ll pick up some valuable mixology skills that you can show off at your next in-person gathering.
2.3 Virtual Yoga Sessions
Yoga sessions, meditation classes and other virtual team retreat ideas help staff relax and destress. At the same time, these activities can teach them valuable coping skills that they can employ in the future whenever they feel overwhelmed at work. There are several individuals and businesses you can hire to run virtual yoga sessions for you, or you may discover that a member of your staff already has some training in this area.
2.4 Virtual Award Ceremony
If you can’t get your team together in the real world to celebrate their achievements, a virtual award ceremony is a good way to replicate the experience. Acknowledging individual contributions increases employee engagement and enhances employee loyalty. Back up the virtual accolades with digital vouchers for Amazon, Apple or other common online vendors. This will enhance the degree to which staff feel valued and appreciated.
2.5 Virtual Games
There are lots of different virtual games you can organize for your digital retreat, depending on the skills you want to foster in your team. Online scavenger hunts and escape rooms are great for encouraging communication, collaboration and problem solving, while things like charades and Pictionary are good for creativity and morale boosts. There are several free sites online you can use to facilitate virtual games, or you can create your own from scratch.
2.6 Virtual Bingo
Virtual bingo is not only easy to set up, but also a really great way for staff to get to know one another. In the company-friendly version, numbers are replaced with items like ‘owns a pet’ or ‘has traveled to Peru.’ Employees then fill in the board over the course of an evening of casual chat with coworkers, putting the names of individuals who fulfill the various criteria in the appropriate square.
One of the best virtual retreat ideas for small groups, this iteration of bingo works best in teams of four to six, since this gives everybody a chance to talk about their experiences. You can create your own bingo boards with custom categories, or utilize one of the premade free options available online.
2.7 Painting Competition
There are many ways you can incorporate creativity into your virtual retreat ideas, including by asking each member of your team to paint an artwork, then have them present it as part of an online company competition. Staff can then vote (anonymously or otherwise) on their favorite, with a small prize for the winner).
Alternatively, you can organize a digital art class led by an external coordinator, who will also send out the necessary equipment (e.g., paints, brushes) to each member of your staff. These classes could be for painting, sculpting or myriad other aesthetic activities.
2.8 Virtual Tours of Historical Places
One of the virtual retreat ideas that exploded during COVID, online tours allow you to take staff around the world at almost no cost and without any logistical headaches. This let’s people travel to places they’ve never been before as well as promoting discussion about personal experiences.
There are lots of options to choose from, including an expedition to see the Northern Lights through a series of video clips, a trip round the Vatican that utilizes augmented reality, and an exploration of the British Museum’s exhibits accompanied by audio descriptions of each item.
2.9 Online Book Reading Session
Equally good for socializing but involving more thinking than drinking compared to a mixology class, online book clubs encourage staff to engage their analytical skills to dissect and discuss a piece of literature. This could be a best-selling work of fiction, a literary prize winner or a piece of nonfiction that pertains to business operations.
As an example, this online list of titles focuses purely on books that discuss personal development and business skills.
2.10 Wine Tasting
Last up on this list of virtual retreat ideas is wine tasting, a pursuit enjoyed for millennia across the world. The easiest way to organize this is to Google companies that offer virtual wine tastings in your country, then choose the one that suits your requirements and budget.
Most businesses engaged in virtual wine tastings will arrange the logistics around shipping mini bottles of various wines to your chosen participants. These packages will include tasting notes for each wine, so that all that’s left to do is unscrew the bottle cap and pour away.
3. Why Should You Organize Virtual Team Retreats?
Unlike an audio conversation or messaging on a platform like Slack, a virtual retreat is usually organized over a video teleconferencing platform. This provides an opportunity for everyone to pick up on visual cues when communicating, which can help increase trust and clarity between individuals.
Team bonding is particularly hard to foster in distributed workforces or companies where a significant proportion of staff work remotely. Virtual team retreats are a way to bring everyone together and build rapport through group activities.
Boosts your company’s reputation
Having a strong company reputation is essential both for hiring new staff and retaining valued existing employees. Well-organized social and learning activities, such as virtual retreats, can play a part in boosting the overall perception of your business.
Create a positive work culture
A positive work culture is one where staff feel supported and cared for by the business. Retreats are a good way to show your employees you care about their wellbeing, whether that’s through virtual retreat activities or online fitness classes.
Enhances employee creativity and skills
Virtual retreats are an ideal setting to enhance creative thinking and other soft skills like decision making and leadership. This can be done through workshops that directly address the attributes you want to encourage, or through virtual retreat activities that indirectly foster things like problem solving and collaboration.
4.1 How do you make a virtual retreat fun?
Try and come up with unique retreat ideas that will get your staff excited and engaged. That could involve an online tour to a majestic natural wonder or a painting class that encourages everyone to explore their creative sides.
4.2 What are the best games for virtual retreats?
Ideally, you want to feature games that encourage communication, teamwork and other soft skills that can be carried over into work. For instance, virtual escape rooms foster problem solving, while Pictionary is all about creativity.
4.3 How Do You Organize a Virtual Retreat?
Depending on the complexity of what you want to offer, you can either host the virtual retreat yourself or hire an external vendor. Virtual games and book clubs, for example, are fairly easy to arrange in house, while yoga sessions and mixology classes are best left to an experienced professional.
Regardless of how you choose to run the retreat, one of the most important factors is ensuring everybody has access to a suitable videoconferencing platform ahead of time. Zoom, MS Teams and Google Meet are all popular options, though free editions usually come with a built-in time limit that might not be suitable for your virtual retreat.