Backstory: From talking with friends and colleagues that were previously not remote but can now work remotely, they all made a similar comment: I work so many more hours now. Removing commutes should give us more time for work and allow everyone more free time; however, it seems people are having trouble separating work and life with remote work. Additionally, everyone is feeling a bit more disconnected and isolated.
Happy hours were always a great way to connect with colleagues outside of work but those events were not inviting for those that don't drink alcohol. It's time to re-think the work place happy hour.
I often partner with a development agency, cuttlesoft, and I was invited to one of their remote happy hours. For the happy hour, they sent employees gift cards for local restaurants and had one agenda item: talk about sourdough bread. One of the co-founders started making sourdough bread and was talking about his experience with "doe exotic" - a play off Joe Exotic. A few employees also started making bread from scratch, it was refreshing to hear people bond over non work related items.
The Idea: Remote team happy hour.
Deep Dive: You would offer a service for companies to sign up for remote team lunches and a pre-planned, non-work, agenda. The agenda will take some finesse but you should provide a detailed agenda including group talking points, leading questions and possible games. You need to keep everyone entertained without having to moderate the experience. By providing a list of items, they will hopefully find a few that resonate with the team. You'll spend a lot of time surveying and refining the process.
Validation: Happy hours have always been a great work escape.
Monetization: You would charge a per happy hour fee.
Steps to Launch: Coordinating lunches would be difficult to start if employees are in different states/countries so you could start with gift cards. The key here is to seed their conversations with something all employees would resonate with. I would send a survey to everyone attending and spend some time planning a few topics of conversation. If one employee has an interesting hobby, you could have them do an AMA. You could also have someone do a musical performance if anyone is musically inclined.
The key here is to dive deep into the first few clients and cater the experience to their employees. You should follow up with detailed surveys to iterate and refine the process. This one will take some quick learning to keep from being repetitive and relying on virtual escape room style games to keep people entertained.