With remote employees, it’s a little bit harder to get in some team bonding in the break room. Namely because there isn’t a physical break room that you share!
But a virtual lunch is the perfect way to foster team building amongst your team. And have a crash course in whatever topic your group decides to pursue.
And, of course, there are meals provided. Really, what’s not to love?
See Related: How To Host A Virtual Conference
What is a virtual lunch?
You may have heard of a virtual lunch as the more colloquial term a “lunch and learn.” And these virtual lunch and learns are essentially structured as informal training sessions.
Different companies may choose to keep these virtual lunch and learns in house or open it up to clients. Either way, a virtual lunch is a great way to get folks to participate and gain some real value out of the topics discussed.
If you like, you can think of a virtual lunch as a 45-minute to 1 hour learn program that offers a value proposition and lets you order food at the same time. As far as a learn event goes, a learn lunch is definitely going to rank as a popular form of training amongst your office.
Five tips for hosting a successful virtual lunch
A virtual lunch is different than your standard virtual team lunch where everyone chows down and catches up on their weekend plans. So we’ll arm you with some tips to make this a perfect virtual lunch for your company and even offer you a few virtual lunch ideas as well.
#1. Choose a topic for your learn sessions
Every virtual meeting should be centered around a topic. And a virtual lunch and learn is no different. Unlike a normal lunch break, you’ll want to choose topics that are meaningful, not just for the sake of small talk.
But if you’re having trouble coming up with different topic ideas, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Bring in an expert to learn topics that are entirely new to you
Maybe you want your remote team to be introduced to some new concepts and new skills. In this case, you could look for motivational speakers who offer different tips on life skills such as time management, personal development, or conflict management.
Or, you might consider what your remote teams have in mind. (Perfect setup for the next point – pat on the back to us!)
Brainstorm topic ideas with your employees beforehand
If you’re not sure what topic will be a hit at your virtual lunch and learn, just try asking your team. Gage their interests and see what would be of value to them.
After all, these virtual lunch and learn sessions are meant to enhance the employee experience. And who better to ask what would be of use to them than the attendees themselves?
#2. Decide on some corporate entertainment to set the mood
Because you want your own lunch to stand out, we highly recommend starting the session with a corporate entertainer. This way, folks can settle in with their meals while being entertained by a professional.
And this will only help to create an uplifting and informal atmosphere for the events to come. Not sure what kind of corporate entertainers there are to choose from? Then we’ll help you out.
You can choose an entertainer from our talent pool here at Clean Comedians. And you’ll be guaranteed a comedic performance that’s free of profanity, prejudice, and politics.
Our entertainers know just how to tickle your attendees’ funny bones and get them geared up for the learn events to come. So why not whet their appetite with a little humor and make your virtual lunch and learn all the more fun?
If you want to add a little magic to your virtual lunch and learn, then there’s no question. You’ve got to go with our lineup of comedy magicians.
Not only will they dazzle you with their amazing tricks. They’ll even get attendees to participate, making them feel all the more comfortable to raise their voice during the meeting later on.
Our entertainers really do know how to set the tone of an event. So if you want to host a virtual lunch and learn that folks won’t be able to stop talking about, you know who to call.(No, not Ghostbusters!)
#3. Find the right presenter to educate your attendees over a meal
Speaking at virtual lunches is obviously different than speaking at an in person lunch or in an event hall. So you’ll want to go with a speaker who knows how to communicate with team members working remotely and scattered across time zones.
But their experience speaking at virtual lunches isn’t the only criteria you should be looking out for. You’ll want someone who can transcend video conferencing and make it feel like you’re meeting team members face to face.
Someone who can bring your remote team together
It takes a special kind of presenter to be able to host a team meal and make sure the food itself isn’t the highlight of the event. So you’ll want a person who can handle dietary restrictions while also getting attendees engaged and active.
Someone who focuses on team building activities
While virtual lunches are meant to be educational, that doesn’t mean your lunch and learn can’t also be engaging and interactive. So make sure that the presenter you choose knows how to get your employees up and moving.
Okay, maybe not literally. After all, you’re eating lunch! But offering them key points that they can apply in the moment will make for a resounding impact among your virtual offices.
#4. Schedule the events and other logistics
This is the part that nobody really loves. Except that one team member who schedules out every single breath they take while at work!
Provide lunch (obviously)
You can choose to host your Zoom lunches in the form of a cooking class, making for an extra interactive experience. Or you can partner with local restaurants to cater to your remote work team wherever they may be.
Either way, you have to provide food. It’s in the name of the event after all!
Choose your preferred platform
Choose a video conferencing software that’s familiar to your clients like Microsoft Teams. That will make hosting all the easier when you don’t have to introduce a new piece of technology to everyone as they’re munching down on food!
Add a grace period for employees
Obviously, with food involved, you don’t want to rush people. So rather than running this like a tight ship, let it go with the flow and see where it takes you.
Offer grace periods for people to chew, socialize, and more. And you’ll only create an even more relaxed environment while encouraging fun and learning.
Leave time at the end for a Q&A session
If you’re bringing in a guest speaker, odds are your event attendees will want to squeeze every last answer out of them. So make sure you leave enough time at the end for a Q&A session.
Besides, then you’ll know who was actually listening. And who was more focused on the food!
Just kidding. Because you went with a really effective and engaging speaker, right? (Hint: take our advice from above!)
#5. After the lunch and learn, ask employees for feedback
Now that you’ve had your fun and games, it’s time to reflect. And no, we don’t mean reflect about the food. (Unless it was horrible – then you definitely need to address that!)
Come up with future virtual lunch meeting ideas
If you’ve never hosted a virtual lunch and learn before, then it’s understandable that there will be more to learn from after the fact. And a great way to learn about how it went is to ask the attendees themselves.
Getting feedback from employees and clients will help you determine whether this is the type of event you want to host regularly. Or save for special speakers you’re able to snag maybe once every year.
Either way, this also continues in the collaborative spirit of lunch and learns as you’re engaging folks in the aftermath of the event. So don’t be afraid to ask what people thought and what might be of more interest to them next time.
It’s not a criticism. It’s an opportunity to learn and make for a more engaging future event.
Maximize employee engagement at your next virtual lunch
Maybe you noticed that employees weren’t particularly engaged at your virtual lunch. And you can bet what our answer is to that…
You probably needed some entertainment to lighten the mood. Sure, a virtual lunch on its own is already informal.
But what sets everyone at ease like laughing with a clean comedian? Not much, we imagine.
So if your event wasn’t a hit this time around, try incorporating some comedy into the next one. You may find it helps engagement levels – and gives you a good chuckle or two!
Everyday, there are new ways to learn something. Whether it’s a new skill, a new fact about your coworker, or a new piece of technology now that we’re living in the digital age.
Either way, a virtual lunch is the perfect platform to explore those new experiences. And with yummy comfort food by your side.
Keep Reading: How To Take The Cast Off Your Funny Bone
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.