Working at home all day definitely has its perks. We don’t have to deal with traffic, you don’t have to rush around in the morning, and best of all we can work in our pajamas (that’s our favorite part)!
You might, however, be feeling a bit isolated, and missing your co-workers and friends as we practice our social distancing. A virtual happy hour may be just what you need to give your day some structure and create a lifeline between you and your loved ones.
So how do you host a virtual happy hour? It’s really pretty simple and an upside is that it’s a lot less expensive than going to a restaurant or bar!
Pick your platform. You’re going to need a chat platform to host your event and which one you use will depend on your guests. Zoom is the most popular option because you can send invites to anyone and its super easy to use. The one drawback is that if you don’t have a paid version, the free version only allows for a 40-minute group session which probably isn’t enough time to get truly happy . Facebook, Skype, and Google Hangouts are fine alternatives as long as everyone is comfortable with the interface you pick.
Have a theme. Although it’s not a must for your virtual happy hour, a theme can make the event that much more fun. Try a margarita night, a whiskey tasting, wine with the gals, or a pajama party. Make sure to dress for the event too. Wine night… get dolled up (make-up and all) and put on some of ‘going out’ clothes just like you would if you were meeting somewhere. Pajama theme… get comfy and have fun!
Make it a real party. Send out invites, share the theme and request RSVPs. We also love the idea of having a “happy hour for a cause” where at the end, instead of tipping a bartender, attendees can donate to your chosen charitable cause or nonprofit through Paypal or Facebook.
Manage your guest list. There are 2 things you want to consider when deciding who will attend your shindig. First, make sure the attendees are compatible especially if you have different circles of friends. Happy hour is all about the conversation so you don’t want someone feeling left out because they don’t mesh with other guests. You’ll also want to limit the number of people joining in. A nice size group is around 10 people. This way you won’t have people talking over one another and the conversation can flow naturally.
Choose the ambiance. If you’re going to virtually hang out with your friends, you want to be able to see and hear them and you want them to see and hear you. Make sure to pick a well-lit area to place your laptop or mobile device and chose a location where background noise (think barking dogs or children playing) won’t get in the way of your conversations.
Keep the conversation light. It will be very easy to get on the topic of Coronavirus but try not to let that happen. This is all about the fun and escaping from the daily grind. It’s likely been a while since everyone has seen each other so use this time to catch up on what’s happening with everyone. You can talk about new recipes you’ve tried, movies you’ve watched, or books you’ve read. It may help to tell everyone in advance that there are topics you’d like to avoid so you can fully embrace the time together with your besties.
Choose the next host. Before you all sign off, ask if anyone would like to organize the next get together. Having something to look forward to makes everything we are all going through just a little more bearable.
You’re not alone if you can’t wait for life to get back to normal and hopefully it will sooner than later. In the meantime, a virtual gathering is the best way to stay connected. You don’t have to limit them to happy hour either. Try a morning coffee clutch, an afternoon brunch, a dinner party or even a movie night. We need each other and together we’ll get through this.