October 5, 2021

3 Tips for Genuine Virtual Fun!

What are the key elements that make playing a game at work fun and not painfully awkward?


We got asked this question in a recent interview and WOW! This highlights the experience (and fear) of so many team leaders. No one wants to be responsible for the painfully awkward Zoom Happy Hour or team hangout where conversation feels like pulling teeth.


You know that intentional socializing time with your team is important, but it’s a challenging task to create that effortlessly fun experience for everyone (including yourself).


3 Tips for Genuine Fun!

1. Expert, External Facilitation


Tag someone outside of your team to run the event! 


Whether you pull from inside your company or work with Kingmakers, expert, external facilitation changes the event dynamic for the better. Think of this person, the facilitator, as the person who guides the experience. 


An external facilitator is uniquely positioned to bring a fresh and unbiased perspective outside of your internal workplace dynamics. They are the person who reads the virtual room: if someone is feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, or hesitant for any reason, they know how to redirect and reframe the situation!


When you take on the role of the facilitator (as a part of the team yourself), you miss out on the opportunity to engage fully in the experience and create your own connections.  Facilitation is a lot of work when you’re trying to enjoy the moment – knowing when to adjust strategy in real time to increase engagement is a whole job itself!

2. Structured Events


Craft your events without down time so that each team member is engaged all the way through! Structure? That’s not fun… Ok, hear us out, though.


Structuring the event from start to finish is incredibly helpful in absorbing any awkwardness. 


Unlike a happy hour or party environment, your team won’t have to rely on existing interpersonal relationships in order to create new shared memories. Different personality types can thrive in an environment with a plan, whereas loose event structures tend to be great for only bolder personalities.

3. Board Games


Base your virtual team bonding time around a board game to connect in a playful, low stakes, and accessible way.

Game play naturally creates a space for social connection; there is less pressure interacting with an objective in mind rather than needing to fill the space with conversation. The conversation gets to flow naturally!


Nostalgia is powerful! Your team members have likely played a board game in the past and that familiarity allows them to let their guard down. Games are not a measure of intellect or physical ability. Through their mechanics and turn order, well facilitated games offer an equitable experience for your team.