15 ideas for virtual company retreats

Find the perfect virtual retreat for your team.

Woman on a virtual call

Are you in the process of planning a virtual company retreat for your remote team? Finding a fun, engaging activity that builds camaraderie between workers is easier than it sounds. Whether you’re looking for fun things to do between presentations and breakout sessions during a formal conference, or want to give your team a chance to unwind during a busy season, there are plenty of ways to get people together just to enjoy one another’s company.

How to host a virtual retreat

A virtual retreat is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a company gathering that takes place on an online video platform rather than in person. This means no travel time or costs for attendees and an opportunity for people to join from anywhere in the world.

As you plan your virtual retreat, use a time zone calculator to ensure everyone can attend. Since this can be difficult with a global workforce, you can split the event into two separate groups by time zone, like APAC and EMEA.

Want to broaden your hiring horizon? Use our Time Zone Crossover Calculator to find the optimal locations to hire in.

15 virtual retreat ideas

1. Online escape games

Escape rooms aren’t just for in-person fun. Various online platforms allow distributed teams to work together via the internet to “find the key.” A fun twist on this game is to have teams compete to solve a mystery; look for a virtual events company that provides the story and awards clues to the teams that win mini-games throughout the event.

2. Virtual trivia 

Trivia-based games have long been a favorite for groups of all sizes. Create your own virtual game using company trivia, or look for a third-party platform that provides questions about pop culture, sports, and general knowledge.

3. Virtual lunch

Ask everyone to order lunch from their favorite restaurant and share it with others in a virtual lunchroom. It’s a fun way to learn about one another’s favorite foods and the types of restaurants in each other’s communities.

4. Employee wellness sessions

Your employees’ health and well-being are critical. Incorporating sessions on nutrition, stress relief, and relevant seasonal health topics into your company retreat gives your employees a valuable return on their time.

5. DIY crafts

There are plenty of video tutorials you can use to walk your team through a fun, simple craft project, whether it’s a scenic painting or some holiday décor. Make it fun or make it a contest—everyone loves a chance to show off their creative side and see their coworkers let loose.

6. Virtual dance party

Dancing on camera may be awkward at first, but once people settle in, this is among the most entertaining group activities. Encourage people to request their favorite upbeat songs for an all-company playlist and let the fun begin!

7. Virtual happy hour

Grab a cocktail or mocktail, turn on your webcam, and share an hour or so with the rest of your team. If you have extra time, consider hiring a bartender to teach a virtual mixology class or look for a simple tutorial online.

8. Online book club

Ask every team member to read the same book, take notes, and share their thoughts. This is a fun, thought-provoking activity that works best with small and medium teams. 

9. A “positive story” conversation

Ask every team member to share a positive story from their life. This could be anything from an act of kindness to a concert you attended with the kids. Having everyone talk about these meaningful moments can provide some much-needed inspiration.

10. Virtual bingo

Bingo is fun and easy to play online with a large group—the perfect combination for a virtual retreat. Gather some prizes for certain rounds, like winning on the diagonal or filling the entire card. 

11. Virtual yoga

Everyone loves a chance to relax, so offer a virtual company retreat hosted by a yoga teacher. There are lots of moves that are easy to adapt for different skill levels, and your team won’t need any special equipment. You can even find office-friendly yoga that lets people use their desk or chair for support.

12. Coffee with the CEO (or someone else)

Give your team the opportunity to have coffee with the CEO or another executive, such as the CFO or CMO. It’s a great way to bring everyone closer together and learn from colleagues at all levels.

13. Theme day

Whether you’re thinking about superheroes, iconic fashion from past decades, or favorite animals, there’s no limit to this activity. Ask everyone in the company to dress up according to the theme or have each department come up with their own. 

14. Personal fact sharing

Who has met a celebrity? Who has a surprising hidden talent? Find out when your team shares fun facts about themselves. Who knows—you might even find out that your coworkers have more in common than they think. 

15. Picture sharing

Ask that everyone share a favorite photo, such as a personal milestone or favorite vacation. Or have people send in baby and childhood pictures to play who’s who. Photo sharing is a quick and easy way to get everyone involved. 

If you have a distributed team, planning a virtual retreat doesn’t have to be hard or boring. Incorporating fun activities gives everyone a chance to shine and get to know one another better.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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