Host a virtual meet up

Invite your team or a group of friends to a Zoom or Google Hangouts meeting for lunch or happy hour. Encourage everyone to turn on their cameras and set the meeting to gallery view, so you can see everyone at once. Keep the conversation going by asking what everyone is doing to stay active while sheltering in place or if they have any good TV or movie recommendations. Maybe take turns offering virtual house or garden tours or introduce each other to children and pets. Combine exercise and fresh air with distant socializing by making it a virtual walking meeting.

Virtual office hours

This is a great way for instructors to make themselves available to students and for managers to stay connected to their employees. Set up a Zoom meeting and invite others to pop in for a chat. Use the waiting room feature in Zoom to manage participation and allow one person in at a time.

Form a virtual TV club

Invite colleagues or friends to nominate TV shows that they would like to watch and discuss. Each person nominates one show each round. Once the nominations are in, send the list out to the group. Each member should rank the shows in order of preference. If someone ranks a show first, assign it a score of one. Second, two points. And so on. Then tally up the scores. Golf rules apply here: The show with the lowest score wins. Then each member watches the first episode and shares their thoughts in a scheduled online meeting or using an synchronous video sharing platform like Marco Polo.

Create a soundtrack to COVID-19

Does shelter in place have you feeling the blues? Find a new beat by creating a soundtrack to COVID-19. Invite your team or friend group to pick a song (or songs, depending on the size of your group) for the soundtrack. This could be your favorite song of all time, a song that represents what you’re going through right now, or just a song you’re vibing to right now. Ask everyone to submit the song name and artist, and why they chose the song. You can create and share out the soundtrack via Spotify. Just don’t forget the liner notes, a listing of everyone’s pick and the reason why they chose it. This is a great way to get to know each other a little better and to have a collective soundtrack to COVID-19.

Take turns giving TED-style talks

Organize a time for your team or friend group to meet virtually and solicit speakers. Each talk should be 5 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A. Participants are encouraged to present whatever they want: hobbies, recipes, exercise tips, etc.

Spruce up your Zoom meetings

Download UC Berkeley branded Zoom virtual backgrounds to bring the campus home to your meetings.