If you’re searching for something positive to focus on during this extremely challenging time, then I have three words for you: virtual happy hour. Here at Planview AdaptiveWork, we had them every Friday (and will definitely resume in the future). You can enjoy them with your colleagues and especially expand them to your friends, in order to maintain that social connection in a time of crisis.
Now, before l highlight the many benefits of these festive online engagements, there’s something I should disclose. I thought that I’d dislike them (OK fine: I thought I’d really hate them). It just wasn’t my thing. Or at least, that’s what I expected. But within minutes of attending my first virtual happy hour, I was hooked. And now, I not only look forward to them, but I’m spreading the word. Hey, at a time like this, we all need something positive to experience, right?
Here are 10 unexpected joys that turned me from a virtual happy hour hater into an evangelist:
- Cocktails (or mocktails if you prefer) are much cheaper, and they’re always made to perfection — because you’re the bartender.
- If you decide to enjoy some adult beverages, then you don’t have to plan ahead for a safe ride home — because you’re already at home. How convenient is that?
- You get to connect with a diverse group, because geography is no longer a barrier. Have a friend on the other side of the country or planet? Meet them at a virtual happy hour as simply as if they lived next door.
- You can change the background to lighten the mood and make people smile during a challenging time in the world. Feel like being in the tropics? A wine cave? The Simpson’s living room? No problem. Just click and make it happen.
- There’s no need to dress up as if you’re heading out to a nightclub. Pajama bottoms are always in fashion. And so are beloved sweatpants (you know, those ultra-comfy ones with the holes).
- If someone in the virtual happy hour mentions an article, a video, a book, a movie — or pretty much anything else — then without leaving the party, you can jump into Google, YouTube, IMDB (etc) and take a deeper look. In the live streaming world, this is called “simultaneous activity”. In the virtual happy hour world, it’s called WOW THAT’S COOL.
- You get the chance to meet other people’s partners, kids and pets. Heck, you can even have your pets meet their pets.
- If you have a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth or a dab of guacamole on your chin, then instead of discovering this horror hours later in the bathroom mirror, you’ll probably be the first person who notices and can swiftly destroy the evidence.
- You’ll discover some great living room design ideas.
- People can take turns selecting background music. Who says ABBA, Jay Z and Led Zeppelin can’t be on the same playlist?
My advice? Give virtual happy hours a try. If you think you’ll dislike them (or outright hate them) then think again. Like me, you’ll probably end up loving them, and looking forward to keeping them as part of your work and personal life once life gets back to normal — or maybe better than normal!