A number of co-workers have been planning events around our office – leisure time, youth sessions, and so on. This happens at the end of the day when I’m tired, trying to finish my work to get it done, and I’m sick of Zoom. That is why I did not go. But in an effort to “get more people involved,” I and other malnourished people were prepared to prepare for the occasion. So … what makes a good work hangout, and how do I turn it into something I can’t hate?
The short answer, Sara, is that you have to play Dangerous. Everyone loves Dangers, and Destructive Labs give you the opportunity to create boards with any band you want, whether it’s an unofficial history or a comic office. (I swear this is not the sponcon of the site.) The most interesting thing I’ve ever experienced, most of the contagious hangouts are the ones that were at Risk.
That said, we need some very important information: How big is your office? Risks don’t work with more than five or six people, and it’s not fun to see other people play. Most of the activities that can be played online, will be fun, a little less than a few people. The game is out if you have no small task. (Assuming you don’t work for a small company, can you plan something for your job instead of the whole office?) There are choices you can make — cooking, displaying magic, feeling — but here we face another challenge. Only your closest friends will speak and you will all be watching the actor with a few clowns. Only. Sounds fun!
This leaves the way to “good time”. This, in my humble opinion, is a very serious matter. (Sorry to all who have invited me to a happy hour in the last 14 months; you are all perfect angels and I am sure yours Leisure time is good.) Video chat is based on a bit of a start; social media is hard to calculate, social time is difficult to reconcile due to the delay of the internet. The more people in a room, the bigger the problem. For up to six or more people, everyone should talk to each other – or worse, they are quiet because they are afraid to talk to each other. I’ve seen people try to add to the discussion to lead the conversation and give everyone a chance to speak, but then you risk things to feel more like any other meeting, or show milk.
Obviously, even social hangouts in the coronavirus are at risk. Being politically stable, then you are in trouble (and we have never struggled with the thorny question that you can drink at the window but in your own living room). A paper this week from Notes on Applied Psychology found that people who were more connected heard from others in a video conference, were more tired afterwards. Ergo, hanging out with friends you don’t know well may leave you exhausted, unhappy at the party. The beauty of an IRL office meeting you can win in public; on the internet, you are caught by someone who takes over any conversation. In most of these cases, there is not enough of the goal of sharing things to make things happen naturally. If you and your co-workers all do the same work, I can give you an unofficial opportunity at park rallies, which have become a WIRED group meal in San Francisco and New York.
If you are scattered, however, Danger is my answer. In other options, fewer friends have launched a variety of online tools karaoke and party games and video watching parties and remote co-op games. All of them have failed to convince me that I want to spend more time online with a group of my (good!) Co-workers over time, but your mileage can vary.