The below is an excerpt from today's webinar on 'The Top Virtual Team Events of 2021'. A recording to view the discussion will be available and posted here.

Did you host a virtual holiday party last year/this year? Is that something that you used to do when the world was normal? Think about all the other events that you used to celebrate when you worked in an office. Think about those happy hours, birthdays, Taco Tuesdays, small wins, big wins–are you celebrating those events when everyone is remote?

Or have they fallen by the wayside? 

In the remote work world, it requires some creativity to come up with an event, you have to research vendors, schedule the event, market the event and kind of pray that people show up. It is not easy coordinating virtual team events and the same approach - the way you’ve always put them together - or turning to the usual methods doesn't work in today’s climate.

But, the effort is worth it. Our data proves it.

Today we're talking about working smart not hard when it comes to planning and executing virtual team events this year. As I mentioned, we hosted over 10,000+ virtual team events last year, we’ve got some data that we are dying to share with you and we’ll talk about how you can go from point A (planning) to point B (hosting a successful event) in the simplest way. 

When we first started building Ten Spot, we asked ourselves how can we replicate what employees do in person, virtually?

We like to start at the beginning of the employee journey. On day 1,  previously, when employees were onboarded in person, they would be introduced to their colleagues, paired for job shadowing, have in person one on ones scheduled. 

Then you might take the new hire out to a happy hour during their first week. So those smaller interactions, these initials connections, lead to shared social experiences that engages employees. 

Our product is broken down into two segments: connect and engage. Learn more about how it works here.

Ten Spot hosted 10, 239 virtual team events in 2020.

Here are the top rated events and trends we are seeing for 2021.

Virtual Trivia 

Our most requested virtual team event. Here is why people like it: it is competitive, lighthearted and whether you compete as an individual or a group, it is an engaging experience. 96% of virtual trivia events we hosted included personalized questions about the company, specific employees, inside jokes. It keeps the players engaged. Our most popular trivia questions were centered on pop culture, food, and image recognition.

While Trivia is super fun, 99% of our trivia games were 30 minutes long. Any longer than that, then we break it up into rounds to keep it interesting. As a note, Trivia is a family friendly event. You have to consider that more than ever when offering virtual team events. We always ask ‘who is our audience’

Finally, we know this is supposed to be a lighthearted, fun virtual team event but we did measure a 40% increase in engagement when there was a prize associated with the trivia game. Even if it was a $20 Amazon gift card, rewards are a great way to incentivize employees to participate.

This particular idea of incentivizing employees to participate in events is interesting, and we predict that companies will begin incentivizing participation in employees bonus plans.

Virtual Trivia Event Tip: There is not enough credit given to the trivia hosts. If you’re thinking this is something you are comfortable hosting yourself, that is awesome, but that is a big undertaking. Think about all the great MC’s or hosts that you’ve experienced. They are asking questions, cracking a few jokes, filling the silences, reading the virtual room… it is a big responsibility. 

Comedy Events

Our second most requested service was a live comedy set. 

People like to laugh. In fact people need to laugh. Laughing reduces blood pressure, decreases anxiety and other negative emotions and it boosts your immune system.

Since comedy clubs are closed, there are a ton of awesome comedians out there looking for work. Now before you cross comedy off of your list because you don’t think it’s appropriate for your team - you can absolutely request PC versions and not so PC versions. 

The comedians we like to work with always ask for more information on the audience and company: dog lovers? International? Will kids be listening? It is always good for a comedian to know a little more about the crowd.

While there is no two drink minimum required to watch a virtual comedy set, over 50% of our comedy events hosted encouraged kicking back with a beverage

Virtual Comedy Event Tip: This is an interactive experience. Our comedians, at least, like everyone to have their cameras on and to be unmuted so they can pause for laughter. Plus, you always laugh more when you see someone else laughing. 

Cocktail Crafting Classes

We hosted over 4,000 cocktail crafting classes in 2020. And guess what? 100% of them requested non-alcoholic options

Here, it's important to mimic a bar vibe with these cocktail crafting classes. And a huge part of that vibe is the bartender or cocktail connoisseur. Similar to the trivia MC, a bartender is the social lubricant who asks questions, guides people through the cocktail crafting steps, tells stories, cracks a few jokes and gets people chatting.

For a 30 minute session, you can usually get through two standard cocktails or one more intricate cocktail. For an hour session you can get through three. It is important to keep the cocktails diverse as typically people have their preferences and might only make one of the options because they like those particular ingredients better. 

This is another interactive experience where cameras and microphones should be on so the host can interact with attendees and more importantly, so attendees can interact with each other! 

There are a couple of ways to handle a cocktail crafting class. You can send the ingredient list ahead of time so employees can purchase the ingredients. Alternatively, you can purchase gift cards for alcohol delivery services that can deliver ingredients right to your door. For example, Ten Spot is partnered with DRNXMYTH for twist and turn hand-crafted cocktails delivered right to you.

Interestingly, 20% of attendees that traditionally would NOT make one of the cocktail on the list, made it and said their preferences had changed.

Cocktail Crafting Class Event Tip: Look at incorporating the Moscow Mule into the session–it was our most requested drink!

Virtual Escape Rooms

These are web-based escape rooms. You are put into teams and have to solve riddles and complete puzzles in a fixed amount of time, with a goal of “escaping the room.” The purpose of these experiences is to encourage collaboration, teamwork and team building.

Virtual Escape Room Event Tip: Encourage employees to take turns in solving the riddles

Professional Development Workshops

We hosted over 1,500 professional development virtual events in 2020. People are always looking to enhance their current skills or learn new ones. Hot topics were: Diversity and Inclusion Roundtables, Enhancing LinkedIn Presence, Mastering Social Media, Learning to Prioritize 

Ten Spot ran a survey with over 2000 respondents and the most requested workshop topics from Gen Z’ers were mental wellbeing and health. Think: stress management, decluttering your mind, how to mentally prepare for big meetings

The only way to really uncover what topics employees want to explore would be by sending out a survey. 

Because this is a specific event, do not expect every employee to attend but you will get extremely engaged and active participants.

Key Learnings

  • For the highest-engagement, host your virtual team events on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday starting at 5pm. 
  • 80% of our virtual team events had opening remarks from leadership and it led to a reduced participant drop off.
  • 65% of participants said that they met new teammates/colleagues that they traditionally would not have interacted with 
  • 100% of all virtual team events Ten Spot hosted utilized marketing materials to get the word out resulting in 87% company engagement
  • Over 50% hosted were from repeat customers. Understanding that team events cannot just be a one time thing. We all need something to look forward to, to connect with our colleagues outside of work, to laugh with one another or to learn something new.

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