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Party On, Online: Virtual Beer Pong Becomes An Emotional Lifeline For Workers

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

The virtual happy hour has taken on huge importance at a time when life is otherwise in lockdown.

A springtime stroll, baking bread or binging shows can be a tonic for a life lived in lockdown. But some workers doing their jobs remotely are carrying on by partying on, virtually.

Normally at this time of year, DJ Haddad and his co-workers run raucous rounds of college basketball competitions. "We're really missing March Madness — it's kind of a big thing on our team," says Haddad, CEO of Haddad & Partners, an advertising company in Fairfield, Conn., with nearly 70 employees around the world.

So last Thursday, they invented an event they dubbed "March Sadness" — a name dripping with irony and alcohol.

It involved virtual beer pong. It's a variation on a popular drinking game, which involves a ping-pong ball strategically bounced across a table, into cups of beer — except it's all captured on live chat.

The game is pretty challenging — not physically, of course, but virtually — and there's trash talk, of course. The software toggles between images of people on the chat, which means occasionally you lose sight of the bouncing ball.

Life is carrying on over webcam. Apps including Zoom, FaceTime and Microsoft Teams are fast becoming the linchpins keeping work meetings going and grandparents visiting. At the more extreme end, some are even holding virtual versions of bachelor parties and weddings that were canceled in real life.

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