How to Host an Engaging Virtual Lunch Event in 2023
How to Host an Engaging Virtual Lunch Event in 2023
Virtual lunches are one of the easiest team building activities to plan and execute. Setup can be as simple as scheduling a meeting and offering to reimburse attendees’ meals or more complex. Organizers that wish to go above and beyond can plan fun activities such as themed lunches or birthday celebrations to make the occasion extra memorable. In this article, we’ll teach you about the benefits of hosting a virtual lunch for your team, how to host an impactful virtual lunch, and 5 stellar ideas that you can leverage to take your virtual lunch to the next level.
What is a virtual lunch?
Virtual lunches are exactly what they sound like. Essentially, virtual lunches simply entail gathering a group of peers to share a meal virtually and poses an excellent opportunity for team members or colleagues to gather remotely and bond over a meal. The purpose of a virtual lunch is to provide peers or team members with an opportunity to chat and get to know one another beyond work which helps facilitate collaboration and team bonding. During these interactions, team members can chat casually, or you can facilitate activities that help initiate conversations like ice breakers or games that help attendees get to know one another.
If your organization is hosting a virtual lunch in an attempt to foster connectivity among team members, you may want to consider providing a stipend for the meal. While you do not have to cover everyone’s expenses in their entirety, you may want to consider providing attendees with a $25 gift certificate that can be used at one of many meal delivery services to order a meal. Not only does this act as an incentive for potential attendees, but it also demonstrates your willingness to create a positive work environment.
What are the benefits of hosting a virtual lunch?
There are many benefits to hosting a virtual lunch including heightened engagement, boosted morale, and fostering greater working relationships among team members. Hosting virtual lunches is also a great opportunity for virtual team members that may not have the chance to connect or chat over lunch in a traditional workspace. This helps create an open dialog where employees and colleagues can get to know each other beyond work while fighting off feelings of loneliness and isolation that often arise while working virtually.
In addition, virtual lunches pose an excellent opportunity for employers to demonstrate their gratitude towards employees. If you’re an employer that has actively been seeking ways to engage and reward your remote employees, hosting a virtual lunch and providing a stipend is a great way to do so. Not only will it aid in boosting morale and engagement among employees, but it will also help create a more positive and cohesive company culture in addition to creating a micro community within the workplace.
How to host a virtual lunch
- Set a date and time
To get started, you must choose a date and time that works for your virtual lunch. It’s important to consider everyone’s preferences and be mindful of employees that may work within different time zones. For example, if you have employees that work on the east and west coast in the United States, you may want to consider starting your virtual lunch at 1 or 2PM EST. Hosting your virtual lunch at a neutral time is important if you want to be as inclusive as possible.
- Choose your meeting platform and circulate the link
Choosing a meeting platform that allows employees to connect with one another is imperative. When choosing which tool to move forward with, it’s important to be mindful of which features are most important to you. After you’ve selected your ideal platform, you can circulate the meeting link or invite among your team. As the facilitator, you will want to be sure you’re present for the event. Alternatively, you can assign a secondary host in case you aren’t able to attend. The easiest way to invite participants to a virtual lunch is to make a calendar invite. You can include the meeting link in the invite so guests don’t have to sift through their email and search for the link when the time comes.
- Reimburse employees for meals
It can be difficult to incentivize and reward employees when working from afar which is why it's important to get creative. Providing a stipend that attendees can use to purchase their meal is a great way to let them know they’re appreciated and valued. Alternatively, you can encourage attendees to submit their receipts and be reimbursed after the event has ended.
- Gather and enjoy each others company
All your hard work has paid off and it's officially time to kick back and relax. Use this time to enjoy a good meal and get to know your peers on a deeper level. If possible, do your best to refrain from talking about work. This time should be used to connect and get to know each other on a deeper level. If you want to kick your event up a notch, you can plan activities that help initiate conversations among teammates.
How to take your virtual lunch to the next level
- Host a lunch and learn
Adding a learning element to your virtual lunch event is a great way to make your event more engaging. Not only will you as the host or facilitator have the opportunity to teach your teammates something new, but you will also be able to host a more engaging event. While you can host a workshop or training session that pertains to your respective industry, you can also have fun with your lunch and learn and use this time to think outside the box. Instead of a seminar related to work, you may want to consider mixing things up and hosting a painting workshop or cocktail class.
- Host an eat-and-tell
Hosting an eat-and-tell is a great way to get attendees talking. This concept is simple. Encourage attendees to make or order their favorite dish that has some form of story attached and encourage them to share it with the group. This could be anything from their favorite comfort food to a secret family recipe, or their go-to college meal. This exercise is an excellent way to learn a little bit about your teammates while speeding up the relationship building process.
- Pair your virtual lunch with a cooking class
Cooking classes are an excellent way to add an interactive and engaging aspect to your virtual lunch. During this activity, teammates not only get to cook a delicious meal, but they also get to bond over a unique learning experience with their peers. To turn this concept into a reality, you can hire a noteworthy chef to lead the class or lean on a culinary-savvy employee to host. No matter which route you choose, you will want to make sure the event is accessible and organized by providing attendees with a grocery list and instructions prior to the event. Alternatively, you can make things easy by ordering participants pre-packaged meal kits that have everything they need to follow through with the exercise.
- Celebrate team birthdays
If you want to make the most out of your virtual lunch, consider using this time to celebrate any team member's birthday. You can make this a company-wide tradition by hosting a monthly virtual lunch where you celebrate employees that have birthdays during this month. You can make it special by allowing them to choose the theme or activity and surprising them with a treat. This time can be used to chat, catch-up, play games, and celebrate with your colleagues.
- Choose a theme
Adding a theme to your virtual lunch is a great way to get your teammates excited. You can rotate the themes on a monthly basis and encourage teammates to share a meal that corresponds with the team. One event could be tacos, one could be Chinese food, one could be vegan dishes, and so on. You can keep things fun by allowing a new team member to pick the theme each time. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about their colleagues through food.
Host an engaging virtual lunch with Remo
Remo is an all-in-one immersive platform that was built to bring people together online. With Remo, you can create and host an engaging virtual lunch event that will bring your whole team together. For the first time ever, you can use an online tool to mimic in-person interactions like walking around, meeting in a fun environment with one of Remo’s custom floor plans, or simply making new life-long connections. Built with connectivity in mind, Remo is the premier choice for virtual networking events.