Submitted by Kathryn Fortin, Fortech
We’re all more dependent on virtual video communication these days with the pandemic. Not only for business, but to connect with friends and family too.
At Fortech, we have been hosting virtual happy hours for years, as we’re a geographically dispersed team. Here are some tools we recommend.
ZOOM: If you do not have Zoom, you can create a free account. With the free account, you can have up to 100 people join, for a maximum of 40 minutes. What many people don’t know is when you’re kicked off after 40 minutes, you can reconnect with the same meeting link. The person that set it up originally must reopen it. We have found that Zoom does not stream videos very well if you want to watch as a group.
Google Meet: Google Meet is the new and improved Google Hangout. Like Zoom, you can create a free account, which in this case is a Google Account. With the free account you can have up to 100 people (250 with a GSuite Account) for 24 hours, but we haven’t tested this. We have used Meet for a 3-hour call and streamed videos with no issue.
Tips for a Successful Experience:
1. Shut down EVERYTHING running in the background that you won’t be using in the get-together. This includes email, calendar & Slack. They take a lot of processor and RAM.
2. Avoid background noise by using a headset for computer audio.
3. If you’re having bandwidth problems, dial in on your phone for audio.
Now the fun stuff!
Here’s a list of games we have played during our happy hours.
Free Online Bingo – play traditional, or “Never have I ever” with customizable cards
JackBox Party Games – Only one person needs a Steam account to host, everyone else connects via cell or web browser
Kahoot – Create quiz games for your virtual party. Only one person needs the account to set up, everyone connects via cell or browser.
More information on organizing virtual happy hours can be found here .