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How to Play Remote Pictionary

How to Play Remote Pictionary

COVID-19 has led to an explosion of virtual happy hours, coffee bars, and other digital events as organizations look for ways to boost morale and keep spirits high during an uncertain time. At APQC, we are privileged to be able to hear strategies and insights about what our members—some of the most successful and resilient organizations in the world—are doing right now to help their newly-remote workforce take a breather and have some fun.

We were inspired by a recent Human Capital Management webinar we hosted with Lisa Ryan (chief appreciation strategist at Grategy), who discussed remote Pictionary among other ideas as a fun way to keep morale high and engage employees during the COVID-19 crisis. As we began planning this activity, we had a hard time finding instructions or directions for how to get the game set up for remote play. We did the work so you don’t have to—Below are the steps we took to get the game up and running and the basic rules we used.


Online Course: Transferring Critical Knowledge

Steps for Setting Up the Game

1. Find a digital whiteboard.
To play remote Pictionary, you’ll need a digital whiteboard that can be accessed by all participants simultaneously in a virtual meeting. Whether you choose Microsoft’s Whiteboard app (which integrates with Teams), the whiteboard feature on Zoom, or another digital whiteboard, you’ll want to make sure that all of your employees download the app or have access to the relevant link before playing. We prompted employees to install the whiteboard shortly before our virtual happy hour and some of us tested it out beforehand. In our case, it was also a great opportunity to test out the whiteboard as a collaborative tool and become familiar with its main features.

2. Designate a moderator.
The moderator serves as scorekeeper and timekeeper. 

3. Divide employees into teams. 
We divided ourselves by department, but you can choose any teams that make the most sense for your organization. 

4. Teams should designate at least one person to draw. 

Basic Rules for Gameplay  

1. Have your moderator think of a random number. Each team tries to guess the number, and the team with the closest guess goes first. 

2. Taking turns, each team draws a picture of a word chosen from a random word generator. We used one from The Game Gal, which allows you to choose from different games and difficulty levels.

3. The team that correctly guesses the answer first gets a point, and that team goes next. 

4. The moderator keeps score and tracks time. Each team has 60 seconds to draw their picture.

5. Play as many rounds as you want—The team with the most points at the end is the winner.

Have Fun!

There was some initial chaos (and a lot of laughter) as we settled into the game, but it ended up being an enjoyable and fun way to spend our virtual happy hour. Games like this invite every employee to participate, which is especially important for engaging employees who are more introverted or wouldn’t talk much otherwise. We all bonded and laughed over our pictures, like the “Sumo wrestler” below.

We hope you’ll give this activity a try, and we welcome you to weigh in about what your organization is doing to engage employees right now. We’d love to hear your stories and strategies!

The quality of our artistic work varied, but the pictures were always fun to look at.