1 in 3 Socializing More With Co-Workers During Quarantine

55% of adults have joined a virtual happy hour during coronavirus pandemic
Happy coworker on a conference call

You might just get to know your co-workers a little better during the coronavirus crisis.

Though bar closings and stay-at-home orders are keeping Americans from engaging in typical happy hours, many remote employees are instead attending virtual happy hours with co-workers, according to a survey by alcoholic beverage brand Four Loko. In fact, 34% of Americans said they’re socializing more with co-workers than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the months since the coronavirus began spreading across the globe, employees have been adjusting to new work routines and learning how to balance professional duties and family lives. One activity that’s becoming more common: More than half of survey respondents (55%) have participated in a virtual happy hour during the pandemic.

Virtual happy hours range in size

A majority of respondents (55%) said the largest virtual party or happy hour they’ve seen had fewer than 10 attendees. Respondents said the ideal number of participants was six.

However, the percentage of people who’ve seen a larger virtual party or happy hour varied:

  • 10 to 14 people: 20%
  • 15 to 24 people: 15%
  • 25 or more people: 10%

The average time for the virtual sessions is 35 minutes when socializing with co-workers and 55 minutes when socializing with friends.

Zoom was the most popular platform for socializing, with 51% attending a virtual happy hour or party via the video conferencing software. That was followed by:

  • FaceTime: 38%
  • Skype: 32%
  • Facebook Messenger: 30%
  • Google Hangouts: 20%

Some industries appear to be more social than others. Finance professionals were most likely to attend a virtual happy hour, with 75% of respondents having done so. Industries right behind them are:

  • Engineering: 72%
  • Insurance: 70%

The workers least likely to attend virtual happy hours are in transportation (38%), construction (39%) and retail (42%).

Impressions still matter virtually

While working at home may create a more relaxed environment, virtual happy hours can invite others to see that environment up close and personal. Some workers are concerned about how their colleagues will perceive them, the survey suggests.

A substantial percentage of respondents (42%) said they are self-conscious about co-workers seeing their homes. Also, 52% said they look at themselves on-screen more than they would like. However, most only take minimal steps to improve their appearance before a virtual session. Only 22% said they dress differently for virtual parties and 17% admitted to using features to improve their appearance on screen.

While consumers have expressed a desire to return to their pre-pandemic routines, whether they feel comfortable in the coming weeks visiting local bars and restaurants for happy hour remains uncertain. In fact, 39% said they plan to continue with virtual happy hours even after pandemic fears subside.

Methodology: Four Loko surveyed 2,007 adults on April 10-11, 2020. Survey respondents ranged between the ages of 21 and 64, with 56% identifying as women and 44% identifying as men.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.