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10 Virtual Party Themes to Try at Work in 2023

Virtual Party Themes for Work in 2023

Discover 10 virtual party themes for work! Geared toward remote and hybrid teams, this post is your go-to source for creative online party themes that will get your team connected. From pop culture themes to fun activities, interactive games, and more – break out of the Zoom square and into immersive fun with these virtual party themes for 2023.

The pandemic made virtual parties a norm in the workplace. After a few years of video calls and online interactions, it might be time to freshen things up with some new, fun ideas. Perfect for your team’s next update meeting, happy hour, or an interdepartmental networking event, these work party themes will get everyone bonding, laughing, and connecting with each other.

Engage employees, boost morale, and create moments of connection. Read on to discover tips and best practices for planning a virtual party, unique  party theme ideas, frequently asked questions, and more!

In this post, you’ll find:

  • Fun online party theme ideas for remote and hybrid teams
  • Creative themes to add excitement to your next game night, team building activity, or happy hour
  • Ways to bring your theme to life through activities, music, video call attire, games, and more
  • Virtual party themes for sports lovers, pop culture aficionados, foodies, and everyone in between!
  • Engaging ideas for your next virtual happy hour, birthday celebration, or work milestone

The Emergence of Virtual Parties

During the pandemic, many teams transitioned from in-person office parties and networking events to virtual. Today, many teams remain working virtually. In fact, the Pew Research Center found that around 35% of U.S. workers who can work from home are now doing so all the time. McKinsey also reports, “When offered, almost everyone takes the opportunity to work flexibly.”

These days, technology and creativity can be combined to make virtual events more exciting than ever. Additionally, the benefits of virtual parties can outweigh in-person gatherings, especially when considering inclusivity and cost. That’s because a virtual get-together is a budget-friendly option that allows all employees to be included, regardless of their physical location.

Things to Consider When Planning a Virtual Party

Planning a virtual party comes with a few different considerations than a physical celebration. A few things you may want to consider include:

  • What technology / platform will you utilize, and do you have a backup option?
  • Is the selected party time convenient for those attending, based on their time zones?
  • What activities, games, or challenges will you take part in during the call?
  • Will you send participants anything physical before the party? This might include snacks and refreshments (or a gift card to purchase a meal), a keepsake memento, supplies for a craft activity or puzzle challenge during the virtual party, or other on-theme items.
  • How will you follow up with everyone after the event?

A theme can help bring your virtual party to life, build excitement, and create a built-in topic of conversation. Read on to discover a variety of creative Zoom party theme ideas your crew will love!

Creative Virtual Party Themes

1. Golf Themed Party

golf virtual team building gift box

Arnold Palmer, anyone? Plan a golf-themed party or corporate happy hour with a few special touches! Don your best polo shirt and visor – or dress as your favorite golf legend! Then, show up with a video call background depicting your favorite golf course.

Plan your golf-themed party in conjunction with Unexpected Virtual Tours’ Design A Golf Course team building session! Our live experiences are loved by teams from Google, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, and more, because we understand team building only works when it’s fun, educational, and engaging. With interactive touches (like designing your own desktop golf course!), this 90-minute session is the perfect bonding activity.

Reach out below to learn more about our Design a Golf Course session – and other engaging team-building and DEI training programs!

2. Costume Party

Whether it’s Halloween or not, a costume party is a fun way to add variety to your virtual party! Let everyone don their favorite costume, regardless of genre. Or, give everyone a costume theme to follow. For instance: music icons, or superheroes.

For more Halloween and fall fun, explore our blog post with Halloween team building ideas! Our favorite option: Unexpected Virtual Tours’ Ghost Stories team building session, which combines spooky stories with exciting campfire challenges!

3. “The Eras Tour” Party

Does your team include Swifties? If so, they’re sure to be “enchanted” by the idea of a Taylor Swift-themed virtual party!

Find the perfect Spotify playlist, dress as your favorite “era,” and set your video call background to your favorite album’s artwork! Play Taylor Swift-themed trivia, guess missing lyrics, and debate which of Taylor’s business moves you think were most savvy.

4. International Food Festival

International Food Festival Themed Party

Share recipes and prepare dishes from around the world with your team! During an International Food Festival virtual party, offer team members a stipend to either cook a global dish or purchase it from a local restaurant. On the call, everyone can “show and tell” about their cuisine and its place of origin and history.

Another idea: make it a South American food festival and take a virtual trip to Machu Picchu! Our South America Virtual Tour is a breathtaking, hour-long excursion through the heart of Peru with live, knowledgeable, and friendly guides leading the way!

5. Travel Themed Party

Pack your bags and get ready for a travel themed team party! There are so many ways you can explore the world virtually with your team. From virtual museum tours to guided sightseeing experiences like our European Holiday, delve into a world of new experiences.

To add to the fun, ask everyone to share about their favorite travel adventures, or a destination they’d like to visit. You can also recount your worst travel mishaps that now make for good stories to laugh at! Plan a travel trivia challenge, share and vote for your favorite team travel photos, or even learn some words together in a new language.

6. Pajama Party

Let’s face it – many of your team members are probably already wearing sweatpants or leggings during their remote workday. After all, working in comfort is one of the main perks of the WFH lifestyle! Embrace it – and spark some fun – with a Pajama Party-themed video call.

Encourage everyone to show up on camera in their favorite appropriate-for-work pajamas. As an added treat, send your team a gift card for breakfast delivery and make it a restful, indulgent morning!

7. Barbie-Themed Fun – One of Our Favorite Pop-Culture Virtual Party Themes!

Barbie Movie Team Building

With bright pink hues, fun vibes, and a toe-tapping soundtrack, Barbie is one of the most-anticipated movies of 2023! Capitalize on the excitement with your team by hosting a virtual party – themed after everyone’s favorite famous doll.

To host a Barbie-themed work party, encourage everyone to dress in their favorite outfit inspired by her adventures. Remember, Barbie has had over 200 careers – from ballerina and floral designer to news anchor, food truck operator, sign language teacher, dentist, astrophysicist, and more!

Pro tip: pair this party theme with our seasonal program, She Innovates, offered during Women’s History Month in March.

8. Video Game Party

Level up your team bonding experience with a virtual video game themed party! Plan an action-packed experience the whole crew will enjoy.

Choose a virtual gaming platform like Jackbox or Steam, then poll the team to choose a game. Team up for exciting quests, solve puzzles together, build something amazing, or defeat threats together! Offer employees a stipend or gift card for pizza delivery to make it a full-on game night experience!

9. Art Party

Dress as your favorite artist, set your Zoom background as a work of art you love, and celebrate all things art with your team! You can coordinate a DIY painting night with your team, or hire a company to lead a virtual painting session. Or, host a show and tell for everyone to share about their recent artistic projects!

For more art-based fun, delve into the history and culture of street art with Unexpected Virtual Tours’ Street Art Experience! This hour-long session helps teams break out their creative side while exploring beautiful murals created by Black artists around the country.

10. Holiday Movie Party

Holiday Movie Party Virtual Party Ideas Themes

Planning a virtual holiday party? Make it a Holiday Movie Party! Encourage everyone to dress as their favorite holiday movie character. Plus, vote on a holiday movie to stream together during your virtual celebration!

Finally, task employees with an imaginary holiday movie gift swap. Each team member is assigned a colleague to choose an (imaginary!) gift for. Then, find an item from a holiday movie that you would gift them, if you could. Rather than purchasing it, pull up a photo and share why you chose the item. For instance: “I’m gifting Emma a ticket to The Polar Express so she can take a vacation!” Or, “I’d gift John a whole cheese pizza from ‘Home Alone, because pizza is his favorite food.'”

Explore more fun virtual holiday party ideas on our blog. Plus, book your team’s spot for an Unexpected Virtual Holiday Party! This inclusive end-of-year celebration is the perfect way to cap off a successful year. Learn about holidays around the world, paint and decorate cookies, make holiday paper sweaters, and take a virtual field trip to iconic holiday sites!

How to Implement a Successful Virtual Party Theme

For your virtual party theme to be successful, our best tips are: tell people about the theme ahead of time, and reinforce the theme in all your communications about the event!

Leading up to the event, create an invitation sharing the event details and theme. If appropriate, ask your company’s design team for help – or create a custom graphic with a free tool like Canva, using colors, fonts, and imagery associated with your theme. Encourage attendees to show up with an on-theme video call background, attire, or accessories.

During the party, keep things interactive with tools like a chat box and reaction features. You can also use of polls, quizzes, and breakout rooms to encourage dialogue. Finally, after your event, be sure to gather feedback from attendees. Send an online survey for everyone to share thoughts and ideas for future virtual parties!

The Future of Virtual Parties at Work

With so many workers in remote and hybrid work arrangements, virtual parties aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, hybrid parties are a popular option to include both remote and in-person workers at the same gathering.

As virtual reality becomes more prevalent, tech-savvy teams may further experiment with these tools to create “in real life” experiences for all, regardless of location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Virtual Party Themes

1. How do you host a fun virtual party?

Fun virtual parties are ones where people leave feeling that their time spent was worthwhile. For this reason, we encourage asking employees directly what they’d like out of a virtual party. From there, use the tips in this post – and exercise your creativity and communication skills – to plan a gathering where everyone feels heard, informed, and entertained!

Browse our blog post on virtual office party ideas for even more tips, ideas, activities, and best practices!

2. How do you engage people in virtual events?

The best way to create an engaging virtual event is to understand what each person finds engaging! For some, this might mean puzzles and problem-solving challenges that encourage friendly competition. For others, this might be a heartfelt opportunity to make connections with team members. Others might look forward most to professional mentorship and training.

While you may not be able to create an event that accommodates everyone’s specific tastes, you can get a sense of what your group desires and adjust programs over time to meet everyone’s priorities.

3. How do I choose the right theme for my virtual party?

When in doubt, poll your team or a few trusted leaders! Narrow your ideas down to your top 3-5 choices. Then, present them to fellow event organizers or participants to weigh in. When selecting your choices, be sure to consider your team’s known tastes. Of course, you’ll want to avoid themes that could be offensive or culturally insensitive. You can also task team members with taking turns picking a virtual party theme!

4. How can I adapt a virtual party theme to suit the specific needs of my team?

One advantage of virtual parties is how flexible they are, making it relatively easy to meet your team member’s needs. For needs related to accessibility, be sure to engage your HR team to find solutions. For team needs relating to scheduling, try using a tool such as a Doodle poll to schedule a party that’s convenient across time zones.

5. What are some ways to encourage reluctant team members to participate in virtual parties?

For a variety of reasons, some team members don’t wish to engage in virtual parties and decline the invitation. On the other hand, they may show up and seem disengaged. While there’s no cure-all, there are a few remedies you can try.

First, gather feedback to hear team suggestions. Then, you can follow up with specific team members about their suggestions. Finally, mix up your approach to party planning. Based on feedback, try new suggestions – or try a different time of day, or week. Additionally, we recommend networking with others in the field to hear what’s working with their teams and discover new ideas.

Explore Unexpected Virtual Tours’ lineup of engaging team building programs loved by teams from Google, Coca-Cola, IHG Hotels & Resorts, UPS, and more!