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30 Best Virtual Retreat Ideas Activities for 2021

If you're planning your first virtual retreat, here are a few simple and easy ideas that the team will enjoy
Has the pandemic got you thinking about how you are going to run your company’s annual retreat this year? This blog post has got you covered! We have come up with 30 creative ideas to make this year’s virtual annual retreat the best one yet. 

In this article you will find:


  • 30 creative virtual annual retreat event ideas for 2021
  • Frequently asked questions about virtual annual retreats


Planning a Virtual Annual Retreat?
Here are 30 creative Retreat ideas to make it the best one yet:

 

30 Virtual Retreat Ideas

1. Virtual Escape Room

A virtual escape room is an amazing opportunity for team building at your virtual retreat. During the virtual escape room, the teams have to work together to solve the puzzles in order to get out and win the game before the timer runs out. 

Check out Teamland for a virtual escape room experience.


2. Fireside Chats

 Prior to the retreat, get all participants to think of any questions they want answers to. Their submissions should be completely anonymous. That way, they can ask anything without feeling uncomfortable about bringing up a possibly sore-subject. During the retreat, present the questions to the team manager or CEO to be answered candidly. 


3. Start a ‘good news’ conversation

It can get lonely working remotely and sometimes you need a little bit of non-work-related good news to brighten up your day. By creating a ‘good news’ conversation channel during your retreat, you give your team members an outlet to share things that have happened to them that made them happy. For example, a coworker could share that they’ve been able to get their toddler to eat vegetables after a long period of resistance or someone has just played a great song and it boosted their mood. Whatever it is, sharing good news can be a great conversation starter and lets teams feel closer as they celebrate each other's small successes.


4. Murder Mystery

There are companies out there that organize murder mystery events. You will work together (or compete) to solve a murder mystery. This is a highly interactive activity that requires collaboration and is great for team building.


5. Virtual Bingo

Playing Bingo is a fun group activity because it encourages interaction and competition. You can send out bingo cards to everyone in the mail to make it more interactive or even use a platform like Patio where Bingo is hosted in the app.


6. Making a Video

Split participants into teams prior to the virtual retreat, and ask them to make a video and submit it. The video could be a commercial about the company, a company music video, or a video about a day in the life of an employee of your company. This will encourage creativity and teamwork, along with making lasting memories. 


7. Trivia

Who doesn’t love a good game of Trivia? It creates a little friendly competition among your participants while allowing for teamwork and collaboration. 


8. Virtual Jeopardy

Jeopardy is more than just the second greatest game show in history, it is the perfect framework for virtual team building games/activities during your virtual annual retreat. You can upgrade the experience with actual prizes you send out to winners.


9. Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Since you will not be able to plant items for people to physically find, your best bet is creating a list of subjective, goal-based items. Some examples of prompts are:

·       Find the item that makes you feel the happiest.

·       Find an item attached to a powerful memory.

·       Find your favorite way to connect to others.

Have teammates log and photograph their answers. You could send this out to your retreat participants in advance so that they can share these logs during your event. It will create anticipation leading up to your virtual annual retreat. 


10. Virtual Yoga or Pilates Class

Get your team up and moving around in between information sessions. This will allow for optimal learning. It will help your team feel relaxed and refreshed which will increase their ability to focus on important discussions taking place during your retreat. You can book classes through Teamland.


11. Coffee Break with the CEO

This is an opportunity for staff members to get to know their CEO on a more personal level. You can hold a short Q&A session/ group chat where staff can ask the CEO questions not related to the workplace. 


12. Never Have I Ever

You need to make sure there is a mix of business and fun. So why not start off with the classic game Never Have I Ever? This game can get a little R-rated at parties, so you could prepare a list of more office-friendly questions. For example, never have I ever watched The Office at work, set the office alarm off, or participated in casual dress Friday. It’s a great way to reminisce about your past office culture while introducing new staff members to what they should expect once you are back in the office.  


13. 2 Truths and a Lie

Split your group into small teams using breakout rooms. In each team, take turns trying to stump your teammates with statements that are fact and fiction. Matched with people who aren’t in the same department to make it tricker and to get everyone to really know each other. 


14. Theme Day & Prizes

Create a fun theme for your virtual retreat. Some fun ideas could include 90’s grunge, Mad Men lookalikes, superheroes and villains, highschool prom night...Give out prizes for the most creative, or the best dressed. 

15. Add a soundtrack

Using music to set the tone of the retreat. Do you want your participants energized and excited?!  Use “Eye of the Tiger”. You could have participants submit their favourite songs to a playlist before the retreat to be played in between sessions. Participants will be excited to hear their songs played and feel more included in the event. 


16.  Coworker Feud

Like the TV classic Family Feud, Coworker Feud is a digital version specifically for team building and engagement. One person, typically the host, does research on a variety of prompts. For example, you can aggregate numbers related to animals, human behavior, food preferences, and the solar system. An alternative is that you can send a survey out to your team members and their families, and then use the answers from these surveys as your data source.

A lead member of each team is the speaker and buzzer and can consult with their team on answers. The teams take turns guessing the most common answers. In the end, the team with the most points wins. Patio offers to organize and host this activity for your team. Check it out here.   


17. Bucket List Challenge

Give all your annual retreat participants five minutes to think about what would make their bucket list – what are some things they would love to do in their lifetime? Then have everyone go around and share their list. If you have employees who share the same activities, you can challenge them to work on it together! Like, running a marathon – if you have employees who live in the same city or have marathons at the same time in different cities or states, ask them to hold each other accountable to finish the marathon! They can push one another and can check in on each other’s progress. This can be used to set sales goals and competitions as well. 

The Bucket List Challenge allows for team building and inspiration/motivation between remote sales reps. It can be fun to hear what other people want to achieve, maybe some have ticked off an item and can share their experiences with the rest of the team.


18. The Desert Island Scenario

Divide your participants into groups. Each group is given a scenario where they’re stranded on a deserted island with seven objects – but they can only grab three.

Make these objects as obscure and challenging as possible so that your team members are forced to really use critical thinking and planning.

Examples of items are a bag of fruit and vegetable seeds, a pocket knife, a 100 feet rope, a bedsheet, a bucket, 2 liters of kerosene, pen and paper, and so on.

Put the groups into break out rooms and allow them to collaborate on which items they want to pick. Once all discussions have finished, get onto a team video chat, and discuss the results.

Activities and exercises like this force team members to see each other as teammates and can lead to healthy competition and excitement within the team.


19. Personal Facts Guessing Game

Ask each participant at your retreat to share some personal facts with you.

These facts will then be compiled into a document that’s shared with each individual in the team. Next to each personal fact, there’s an empty column where each participant will have to guess which team member the fact belongs to!

Not only can this game be hilarious, but it is a great way to develop successful team cohesion and camaraderie. Once all the guesses have been submitted, an answer key will be provided so that team members can see how well they guessed.


20. Picture Sharing

Picture sharing activities help facilitate laughter and surprising responses that will leave your team feeling happy and connected.

At your virtual annual retreat, set aside designated time for a participant to share one personal photo that is unrelated to work. This photo can contain pets, hobbies, gadgets, family members, etc.

Then have the participant explain the photo such as what’s going on there and why they chose it. This will allow a much-needed break from the information being shared during your retreat 


21. Remote Tai-chi

Similar to the benefits of doing virtual yoga, tai chi is a light and effective exercise that will help limber up your bodies as you settle into your virtual retreat. One of the major advantages of tai chi is that it is a series of gentle movements that is accessible to many people. You don’t have to contort your body into difficult poses or lift heavy things, you just have to feel your energy and the air and move with it.

Tai chi is a great way to get your blood flowing which allows for better concentration during your information-packed virtual retreat. 


22. Virtual Comedy break

This activity is an amazing way to have fun, whilst getting to know and bonding with your fellow teammates. Prior to your virtual retreat create a challenge or theme for the joke. For example, jokes about office habits, rival companies or food. Throughout your retreat ask different team members to share what they have come up with. This will break up your session with laughter and light-hearted banter.


23. Create a virtual break room

This is a separate area where team members can take breaks from the information sessions during your virtual retreat. They can eat their lunch, chat, and socialize in a casual setting. This will encourage the team to reconnect while on break and focus when in their training sessions. 


24. Magic Show

Provide a creative and engaging break during your virtual retreat by having your participants learn some new tricks. You can do it yourself with your team by watching different youtube videos or Teamland can host it for you with a magician and using a magic kit. We can send you a kit before the event or you can use items around the house.

25. Photo Booth

You can bring the fun and memorable element of photo booths to your virtual annual retreat by taking screenshots of everyone wearing a particular outfit like a Hawaiian shirt, crazy wig, best mustache or even the same background.


26. Virtual Dance Break

Get everyone moving by busting a move. Whether it’s a mix that everyone adds to, or using a playlist online that everyone enjoys, you can keep your participants awake during your retreat by having short dance breaks. You can even turn it into a karaoke. 


27. Sound Bath Meditation

A sound bath is a deep listening meditation practice where ambient sounds are used with the intention of accessing therapeutic connections within the listener. This is perfect for relaxing your virtual retreat participants who might be feeling stress or isolated from working remotely. Teamland can hook up your team with this therapeutic experience.


28. Swag Bags

Make it tangible! Everyone loves a goodie bag. Send each participant a gift bag with something they can feel, touch, or eat in-person (a picnic basket, gifts,  flowers). 

29. Virtual cooking class

Learn different cooking techniques from around the world using fresh and local ingredients. This can be a fun and interactive learning experience for all your retreat participants.  Arrange for a cooking class through Teamland. Food kits are available for delivery.


30. Public speaking training

Have your virtual retreat participants learn from 2-time TEDx speaker on how to improve their public speaking for not only presentations but also effective business communication. 


People also ask these questions about Virtual Annual Retreats

Here are answers to the most common questions about virtual annual retreats:


What is a virtual retreat?

A virtual retreat is a meeting that is typically designed to allow a group to step back from their daily demands and activities for a certain time to concentrate on specific topics facilitate through discussion, dialogue, strategic thinking, and activities. 


How do you organize a virtual retreat?

Use video conferencing rather than traditional conference dial-ins. Test the technology ahead of time and make sure everyone turns their cameras on for more engagement. Set clear objectives for the meeting, and send any necessary out to participants ahead of time. During the session, use an agenda, set ground rules, and take breaks. Try to keep the presentation length short. Use an icebreaker to begin and always assign one facilitator. Ask people to participate when applicable and ask for feedback. 


How do you make a virtual retreat fun?

To make a virtual retreat fun and engaging you must include interactive elements such as Q&A sessions, online meetups, polls and surveys, and public feedback. Also, plan fun activities such as virtual team building activities, and entertainment that will appeal to your entire audience.


Why should you hold a virtual team retreat?

The purpose of a virtual team retreat is to remove remote workers from the normal routine and focus on specific goals such as team building or preparing for a large scale organizational initiative.

Some of the reasons a company might host a fully virtual retreat include:
- To accommodate a fully remote workforce
- To unit a global organization
- To save money on travel and accommodation 
- A wider array of activities can be offered
- Can follow a different timeline to accommodate conflicting schedules


What are good virtual team retreat ideas?

The best virtual retreat ideas demonstrate thought and effort, are interactive, and engaging. Creative virtual retreat ideas include accessible schedules, customizable agendas, engaging activities, and swag bags mailed directly to the participant’s homes.


What you should do now

Whenever you're ready...here are a few ways we can help you:

1. Book a team social event. If you'd like to work with us to have more engaging team events, book an event.

Don't know what activity to pick? Use the Team Building Idea Generator for options.

2. If you'd like to learn remote work strategies for free, head to our blog where you'll find several guides and posts.

3. If you'd like to create a offering for companies for a skill that you have, then contact us and let us know.

4. If you know someone who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

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