Virtual team building events have become an essential program used by people ops and HR teams to engage with their remote workforces—they are a proven way to foster team bonding and enhance employee morale. However, navigating this shift for company kickoffs (CKOs) and sales kickoffs (SKOs) hasn’t gone over so smoothly…especially given 29% of kickoff attendees (in-person, virtual, & hybrid) rate their experience a “C” grade or below (Brainshark).
The need for impactful CKO experiences, virtual or not, has never been greater. With event marketplaces like Postal, finding innovative experiences that include logistic management has never been easier. In this post, I’ll cover some of best practices and ideas from what I’ve seen in my career to guide your next virtual team building event, CKO, SKO or happy hour.
From alcohol-related events like mixology or wine tasting, to craft events like painting or terrarium making, there isn’t a shortage of ideas that align with your theme or brand. Whether you're looking to break up the monotony of remote work with a fun coffee-related event in the morning or finish the day with a virtual cocktail hour, the following custom options will provide you with the inspiration to create an unforgettable team bonding experience for your employees.
The importance of giving attendees multiple options
Providing your team with multiple options or sessions for your virtual team building event can be a key factor to create an enjoyable experience for everyone. Most of our customers host at least three different events throughout their CKO to cater to different interests and preferences. We recommend choosing one event from the following categories for your team to choose from.
Alcohol related events remain our most popular event category on the platform. Mixology events are a fun option for those who enjoy experimenting with new drinks as well as non-drinkers—most mixology experiences on the Postal platform offer non-alcoholic options as well. Wine, beer, cider, and spirit tastings are all options to explore for groups who want to do less mixing and more drinking.
Food-related events are an alternative to engage team members who don’t love to drink but do enjoy great food. Some of our most popular events include charcuterie board events, cheese tastings, Colombian chocolate tastings, and even learning how to make the perfect coffee pour over in the morning. Such events will teach attendees new culinary skills or provide an experience that they’ll remember throughout their life.
Craft events like painting, Shibori dying, or terrarium making are a solid option for teams who are looking for more of a hands-on experience (looking at you, marketing).
By offering multiple experiences, you'll be able to cater to the diverse interests and preferences of your team while creating a virtual team building experience that everyone enjoys. Employees should be empowered to choose which event(s) they prefer.
Switch up the times
One of the great things about virtual team building events is the ability to switch up the times and provide attendees with the flexibility to participate at their convenience. Breaking up the day into different segments, such as a coffee-related event in the morning, a hands-on activity in the early afternoon, and a cocktail hour in the evening, can help keep your team engaged and interested throughout the day.
Additionally, it's important to keep in mind where your employees are located and schedule events for both time zones if necessary. Many customers run an event at 1:00 PST for their East Coast team and 4:00 PST for their West Coast team, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate.
The most popular times of the week to host virtual events are shown in the visual below from our 2022 Offline Trends Report: Thursdays are most popular followed by Wednesday, and then Tuesday. Access our full report to see more insights from offline campaigns and virtual events below.
By providing your team with the ability to rest in intervals throughout the day, you'll be able to create a virtual team building experience that is enjoyable and manageable for everyone. This will help keep your team engaged and energized, leading to more productive sessions.
Book to cook—consider culinary experiences
Cooking together is a team building option that goes beyond the standard food-tasting experience during remote events, as it provides an opportunity for team members to unwind, interact, and bond with each other in a unique way. Rather than sending a gift card to order lunch for your virtual CKO, schedule a cooking event, where everyone can join in and make their own meals together.
This type of virtual team building event allows employees to engage in a shared activity and bond over a common experience. They'll have the chance to learn new cooking techniques, try new recipes, and work together to create something delicious. And since everyone will be eating their meals together, it's also a great opportunity for team members to catch up and chat with each other in a relaxed setting.
Last year we hosted a holiday gnocchi cooking class with the entire company. Ingredient boxes were sent to each employee’s doorstep after verifying their addresses through the Postal app. Everyone joined an hour long Zoom led by a chef who fired up the audience with a number of hilarious questions that were answered in the chat.
Not only is cooking together a fun and enjoyable way to bond with your team, but it's also a great way to join coworkers after events for a dinner as well. This can help create a positive and uplifting atmosphere, leading to a more productive and successful virtual team building event.
How to host custom branded events without the headache
Tailoring the experience to your team's preferences and interests is the new status quo, yet adding in your own branded or customized experiences shouldn’t be a logistical nightmare. From custom menus to branded boxes and bottles, there are a variety of vendors in Postal’s Event Marketplace that allow you to create a branded experience that everyone will love without the hassle. Most of them offer precustomization options for events and other low effort branding options, such as the examples below, and are available to book hassle-free.
With both alcohol and non-alcoholic options, let your team explore the world of mixology. Your custom branded experience will include a branded box, insert, and a laser printed shaker and cocktail glass. Take it a step further and create a custom menu with drinks that you can personalize to your team’s tastes, such as a “Marketing Margarita” or “Postal Paper Plane”.
Cold brew & chocolate
If you’re looking for the same level of branding but your team is looking for something a little sweeter, consider a virtual cold brew and chocolate tasting event. This is a great option for a relaxing and indulgent team building activity while still including the personalization.
Another great branded option to host without the headache is a tasting with custom labels. Not only does it look & taste great, but with OneHope on the Postal platform, it also gives back through their charitable partners.
Explore more custom options to pair with your CKO
Want to enhance the overall CKO experience beyond just adding a virtual tasting or event? Consider working with a vendor such as Paper Plane Agency to create a custom CKO or SKO kit that gets delivered right to your employees’ front door. Include a branded fanny pack, reusable water bottle, phone charger, or other memorable items. This is an easy way to add a special flare to your virtual CKO and create a unique experience for your team—yet keep in mind specialized bundles will require extra lead time and planning.
Boost audience engagement with these ideas
Long, back-to-back sessions often have the tendency to limit important information your audience will absorb…especially with large groups, people’s attention spans will lapse. Incorporating both in-person and virtual elements into your team building events allows you to create a dynamic and engaging experience.
For example, you could start the event with a virtual mixology class, where team members can learn to make cocktails from the comfort of their own homes. Then, you could follow up with an in-person event, such as a wine tasting or brewery tour, where team members can come together to enjoy the experience in-person.
Another idea could be to incorporate virtual components, such as virtual scavenger hunts or escape rooms, into your in-person team building events. This can add a new level of excitement and engagement to your events, while still allowing team members to participate in person.
Showing QR codes during the event to giveaway items via MagicLink or route attendees to another experience is another tactic that will boost engagement. At Postal’s CKO we conducted fun pop quizzes to test our people’s knowledge on fun topics. ‘Postal Bucks’ were given to team members who correctly answered questions during the sessions—the person who finished with the most was rewarded with money to select items from our marketplace.
Start planning your next team building event today
Virtual team building events provide a unique opportunity for teams to bond and connect with each other, even when working remotely. With a range of options available, from custom mixology classes to cooking events, there's something for everyone. By incorporating hybrid experiences, you can bring together the benefits of both in-person and virtual events to create a dynamic experience for your team.
Now that you have a better understanding of the possibilities for your next virtual team building event, consider getting started with a demo of Postal's event platform. You’ll access our comprehensive experience and virtual event marketplace to find the perfect event for your team. Whether you're looking to bond over cocktails or cook together, we make it easy to find the perfect virtual event for your team. Get started today and take your team building to the next level.
Nicole is the Program Manager, Events for Postal, where she coordinates with both customers and vendors alike to ensure the seamless execution of events while identifying and implementing improvements to the platform to enhance overall user experience. Outside of the office, Nicole enjoys being outdoors with her pup, Murphy.