The Slice

Virtual Coffee Break: How to Hold a Coffee Chat Over The Web

May 5, 2023

Is it worth pulling your team away from their work to invite them to a coffee chat over the web? How would one even organize such an event? In this article, we'll touch on everything you need to know about incorporating virtual coffee breaks into your team's schedule.

Working from home can offer tremendous benefits to companies and employees alike– businesses can save money on overhead and hire the best of the best no matter where they live, and workers can maintain a healthier work-life balance and skip the commute.

As the remote work revolution has marched forward, though, it's becoming clear that valuable aspects of working in-office are lost– notably, the ability to have casual social interactions with coworkers and organically build a strong, healthy company culture.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can recreate some of the best parts of working in an office, one of which is by hosting a virtual coffee break.

Is it worth pulling your team away from their work to invite them to a coffee chat over the web? How would one even organize such an event? In this article, we'll touch on everything you need to know about incorporating virtual coffee breaks into your team's schedule.

What Is a Virtual Coffee Break?

Remember back in the day when you used to sit and enjoy a hot cup of joe with your coworkers as you all took a break from your work? A virtual coffee break is an event that offers the same opportunity to remote workers. It's a chance for teams to chat and connect with each other with a warm, often caffeinated beverage in hand.

Virtual coffee breaks are an increasingly popular team-building event that helps offer a reprieve from burnout and isolation that can, unfortunately, accompany working from home. These events don't need to be highly structured– in fact, it's good to keep it casual and simply encourage conversation over the course of a 15 or 30-minute break.

What Are the Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Coffee Break?

Virtual coffee breaks can be a great way for your team to step away from their work for a bit and hang out with each other in a more casual and social way.

With burnout on the rise, keeping your team's well-being in mind is important. Giving them a chance to connect with each other and take a break can do wonders for virtual teams that otherwise might not have many opportunities to socially interact with their coworkers.

Build a Sense of Community

Even if your remote workers are full-time employees with benefits, perks, and all the bells and whistles, it's still easy for people that work from home to feel more like independent contractors because they spend their days alone.

Building a sense of community is an important part of creating a positive, healthy culture, and you'll find that all of your team's interactions and collaborations go much more smoothly when there is a strong feeling of community and workers know one another on a personal level.

Prevent Burnout

If you and your team are working against a tight deadline or otherwise putting your all into your work, it can be tempting to fire up the engines in the morning and push as hard as possible until the end of the work day. The truth is, though, that taking regular breaks actually helps workers be more productive.

If your team is all work and no play day in and day out, you'll likely find that your employees get caught in a cycle of burnout, which isn't good for the individuals or for the company overall. When you host virtual coffee breaks, it encourages your employees to take breaks and step away from their work for a bit.

Encourage a Healthy Culture

Building a workplace culture can be difficult when you manage a remote team, but it isn't impossible. It just means that you have to deliberately schedule events for everyone to participate in since they don't have the same workplace banter and socialization opportunities.

Organizing coffee breaks for your team can help build a sense of respect between employees and management, increase trust between peers, and provide opportunities for reinforcing values. Beyond that, it can boost morale in the workplace, which has endless benefits– from more engaged employees to better worker retention.

Boost Productivity

It might sound counterintuitive that scheduling breaks for your team boosts productivity, but you'll find that this is one of the most compelling benefits of hosting virtual coffee breaks.

Letting everyone step away from their work in order to engage socially will let them return to their projects refreshed and rejuvenated, and they'll be more motivated to do their best work when they feel more connected to their team.

Improves Employee Wellness

You can incorporate many fun activities into your virtual coffee break that can benefit the wellness of your employees.

Whether you have a quick dance party with a live DJ, play games, or take a yoga break together, this is a wonderful opportunity to show that you are interested in supporting your team holistically.

Allows Connection Despite Distance

Just because you and your team don't live in the same city (or even on the same continent!), it doesn't mean you can't connect.

Virtual coffee breaks are a great way for teams to build relationships that strengthen the culture of your company despite the distance between them.

Relationship Building

You'll find that your team functions much more smoothly when everyone knows each other on a more personal level.

It gives everyone a chance to chat and learn more about their teammates, including their hobbies, qualities, and values. 

Reduce Isolation

Working remotely is seriously awesome– who doesn't love being able to show up to work in their slippers and skip the commute? Beyond that, it allows people to live where they want and work where they want, which would have been a pipedream for just about everyone only a decade or two ago.

At the same time, every coin has two sides, and working remotely has some drawbacks. One of the most glaring negatives associated with remote work is the potential for isolation and loneliness to develop among work-from-home employees, which isn't just bad for the well-being of your team but also for productivity, morale, and engagement.

Hosting remote coffee breaks can be a great way for your team to connect more personally. It recreates the social opportunities that were built into the offices of yore and also serves as an excellent team-building event. 

How to Host a Coffee Chat Over the Web

Now that you're fully convinced that virtual coffee breaks should be a part of your team's schedule, let's look at the steps you can take to ensure your next coffee chat is a success.

If you're looking to create a more lively and festive event for your team to celebrate a win or simply give everyone a chance to hang out and relax, a virtual happy hour is another great way to help create community, build memories together, and improve collaboration as a team. If you feel like booze is the more appropriate beverage for your virtual event, make sure you check out our list of virtual happy hour party ideas.

Keep the Group Small

When you try to hold a relaxed, casual coffee break, having too many people involved can become a problem. With larger groups, it's common for a small handful of people to dominate the conversation while the others are awkwardly sitting on the sidelines. If people don't feel like there is space for them to participate, it can mean they are less likely to opt in for future social events.

If you are going to have a bigger coffee break, consider creating a more set schedule of games and activities for people to participate in. You can also utilize the breakout room feature of software like Zoom and Teams, allowing people to spend time in smaller groups and have more opportunities to contribute.

Send Out Invites

Sending out invitations is a nice way to emphasize that your coffee break is a chance for everyone to chill out and hang out for a little while. Not only does it remind everyone of the date and time, but it can make it feel more like a special occasion.

For shyer members of your team or new hires, it can also make them feel encouraged to show up and participate– after all, you want everyone to feel welcome!

Consider the Environment

When hosting a virtual coffee break, you want to make it feel like you're all hanging out IRL as much as possible. Beyond that, it's important that there aren't tons of distractions that make it difficult (if not impossible) for your team to have a relaxed, enjoyable time.

First, you'll want to figure out how to reduce background noise during your coffee break. Consider encouraging your team to find a quiet place to sit with their computer to participate. Otherwise, you might find that the sound of dogs barking, phones ringing, and horns honking disturb the flow of your event.

Kick It Up a Notch: Provide the Coffee for Your Remote Team!

Sure, you can set up a coffee break and expect everyone to break out their French press, coffee cone, or Keurig. Wouldn't it be nice to provide coffee and breakfast for your whole team, just like you used to do back at the office?

Don't worry; we're not expecting you to fly all around the country, making your team a cup of joe and a delicious meal. At PizzaTime, we specialize in providing catered meals to virtual teams– no matter their location or time zone. For coffee breaks, we can deliver a morning beverage and breakfast item to teams that are located anywhere delivery service is available in the US and Canada.

You can host a virtual coffee break in three easy steps with PizzaTime– all you have to do is pick a time and date, send out your custom invites, and show up and have a great time. Your entire team will receive coffee (or tea!) and breakfast from a local restaurant, which you'll find really kicks your event up to the next level!

Help Start the Conversation

When you host a virtual meeting, you likely have an agenda prepared with specific items you want to address. Virtual coffee breaks are much more casual, and going overboard and scheduling the content of the event can take all the fun out.

At the same time, going in unprepared can leave you feeling anxious or uncertain about how your coffee break will go.

As a middle ground, consider coming up with some conversation-starter questions that you can use as needed. Try not to control the flow of conversation too much– if everyone's chatting, then it's going well! But if it seems like people need a little prompting, you can jumpstart things by posing questions that allow everyone to connect on a more personal level.

It can also be fun to incorporate some games into your virtual coffee break– check out our recent post about 5-minute games for some short and sweet activities you can engage in with your team.

Gather Feedback After Your Break

So, how did it go?

When considering the success of your virtual coffee break, you'll want to think about your goals for the event. Maybe you want to give your team a chance to get to know each other better and connect with one another, or perhaps your employees need a breather after a big project.

Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind as you plan your coffee break. After the fact, informally check in with your team and send out polls to get feedback about whether you achieved your intended goal.

Is It Time For a Coffee Break?

Are your employees stressed out and overworked? Do you feel like there are little to no interpersonal relationships within your team, and it's damaging productivity, morale, and retention? Is it time to take a step back and enjoy a nice cup of joe together?

Virtual coffee breaks are an excellent way to let your team spend quality time together and step away from their work. By hosting regular coffee breaks, you'll find that your team starts building memories together, feeling more comfortable with one another, and collaborating better. Not only will it make work more fun, but it will help your team be more successful, too!

Organizing a virtual coffee break is easy– at least when you let us do all the heavy lifting. If you want to show your team that you appreciate their hard work and encourage them to build a stronger community, it only takes less than two minutes to put together an event through PizzaTime. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can schedule a morning beverage and breakfast item to be sent out to your entire remote team!

Does that sound good to you? If so, you can start your order today.

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