Working in an office can be draining. The endless meetings, status reports, constant chatter and stress can sometimes get the better of us. That’s where happy hour ideas can come in to save the day! They are events that encourage informal socializing and help your employees relax.
Naturally, happy hours let your employees let their hair down, in a formal manner. It gives an opportunity for the entire office to talk about anything other than work. It helps them to de-stress and that fast approaching deadline surely starts looking farther away (only for a short time). In this blog, we will take you through 20 amazing happy hour ideas to boost the camaraderie in your team.
1 What is an Office Happy Hour?
Happy hour usually refers to the time of the day when bars and restaurants offer their usual fare at a reduced price. This usually is between 4 to 7pm, because sales are slow during these hours.
In an office happy hour, employees get together in a common area, ( a pool table or lounge, for example). Even managers can let down their hair during office happy hours and express their appreciation for the team that has been sweating it out all the time.
You can livestream a game or sport which will keep people occupied as they munch on the food and beverages that flow at these happy hours.Serving alcohol is considered work-appropriate since it helps everyone to unwind after a hard day (or week) at the cubicle.
Sometimes, merely having alcohol and asking everyone to arrive doesn’t nearly get much participation from employees. So if you’re really intent on having that happy hour but not sure about how to pull it off, hang on! We got it for you.
2 20 Happy Hour Ideas That Give Out Positive Vibes
2.1 Offer an Unique Menu
Most employees know what’s the standard fare at the office cafeteria. Imagine their surprise when they see an unusual dish that they have only heard of or not even have tried before. When something unique is on the platter, it’ll arouse curiosity, and the turnout will be greater than what you expected. This is why the occasionally-unique menu figures into a list for happy hour ideas!
To add to the spirit, if your office chef has something special up his sleeve that he would like to try out, this would be the perfect occasione to show it off. After all, it’s never a bad time to try out new food items. Who knows, you might just discover the new favourite item for everyone on the office menu.
2.2 Ensure Adequate Food For All
Nobody likes to be invited to a party where food is running low. Keep in mind that alcohol is the greatest attraction of the happy hour, but having plenty of food that goes well with the drink orders will definitely lift the spirits (pun unintended).
Remember that the office space is a mashup of people of varying tastes. So, the best way to get their attention is to cater to the varying tastes of people. Be sure to have a wider variety of cuisines, and a dizzying (pun intended!) variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.
2.3 Create a Hype Around The Event
Sending a single email addressed to everyone where you ask them to turn up on Friday at 5pm will definitely do the trick, but it wouldn’t generate much of a buzz. Instead, you can use wordplay in your invites and reference shows or even hint at the food and drinks that’ll be served. However, don’t reveal the exact offering. Each mail can mention one food item in a hidden code or puzzle, and send one mail to each department.
When you send out the invites in this manner, the office will be abuzz with everyone talking about the happy hour event. The water cooler conversations will certainly be more exciting than usual and people won’t be sure about what to expect. The idea is to hype it up!
2.4 Plan a Karaoke Competition
Once the food and drinks get flowing, you need to plan something where the employees can have fun and let their hair down. A karaoke competition during the happy hour can surely be a great way to relieve the week’s stress. It also gives all your employees a chance to express themselves through music.
If you can get an entire karaoke setup in the office, it would definitely be a great experience. However, if you can’t arrange for one, a visit to the local karaoke bar is another way out. You can book the entire venue for your office, after deciding upon the time, and get ready to have a blast! To make it more competitive, you can have a few judges from each department and ask them to choose the winners. The victorious ones can take home an eStore voucher from a store where they frequently shop.
2.5 Organize a Brunch at a Local Restaurant
Happy hours usually sound like lots of alcohol, but how about a brunch with the entire team to start off the day on a positive note? Brunches are great happy hour ideas to consider if everyone in the office has something important to look forward to, in the evening.
A warm and hearty breakfast will fuel productivity across your office and keep everyone cheerful for the entire day. Breakfast food items such as pancakes, bacon, boiled eggs, waffles are some of the most widely loved foods.To organize it, you can hire a local restaurant to set up their entire breakfast range in the office cafeteria.
2.6 Trip to the Massage Parlor
Looking to relax your muscles after a hectic week at the office? Massage parlors bring in a fresh wave of excitement.
Organizing one such trip during the office hours is fairly easy too. Just zero in on the massage parlor that gives you the best deal, send out the invites to interested team members and be there on time. A good massage on Friday evening will rejuvenate your entire office, and the productivity levels on Monday will be off the charts!
2.7 Invite Local Breweries and Wineries
Ordering alcoholic beverages form well known brands is something that is quite common during office happy hours. To give that concept a little twist, you can invite the local breweries and wineries of your city to put their offerings on display.
There are many advantages to this – the breweries get more attention and increase the customer base, with the entire office going through their menu. As for your employees, they get to taste newer varieties of wine and sample the local offerings. If your office is close to wineries, for e.g. the Napa Winery, then you know you have struck gold when they present their 20 year old bottle of goodness.
2.8 Get Your City’s Local Bands to Perform
Hosting local bands in your office area is great to promote talent locally and entertain your team while they nurse their drinks.
Your team could also put together a surprise performance, more so if some of them know how to play an instrument or have a terrific singing voice. Hidden talent might just surprise you and the rest of the department! As a thank you for going up on stage, they can even get a drink (on the house),or put it on the company tab.
2.9 Introduce Office-Appropriate Themes
Let’s face it, who doesn’t love to dress up at work? A themed office party is the perfect way to let your employees wear their goofiest costumes and let them flaunt it all around with confidence.
The themes can be anything – a favorite tv show, your movies, music artists.. You can also open up the field for everyone and let the entire office vote on the theme it likes best. In a costume theme party, the sky’s the limit. Just remember to slip in a word about not going way over the top, since it’s still an office party.
2.10 Bring Your Pets to the Party
You might be well acquainted with the idea of ‘bring your pet to work’ day. But amidst all the deadlines and corporate rush, how much time do you actually get to play around with your colleague’s beautiful golden retriever?
A ‘bring your pet to work’ happy hour can help you with that. Now you can enjoy the food, drinks and even play with your teammates’ pets.
2.11 Ask Everyone to Bring a Paintbrush
Bring out everyone’s creative side by hosting either a fingerpainting session on canvas, or getting everyone art and crafts supplies. You can provide your employees with the crayons, colors and paintbrushes. Paint-proof clothing and aprons can be arranged too, if you don’t want your employees to get their work clothes dirty.
Assign someone from the upper management to preside over as judge, keep prizes for the winners, and you’re ready to splash with colours.
2.12 Advertise the Company’s Work Culture
With an abundance of food, drinks and happening events, a happy hour is a great way to capture your work culture on camera. Frame the photos of the winners of the various competitions. You can even hang them somewhere where everyone can see, talk and laugh about.
Your company’s presence on social media is an important factor for the people who are looking forward to joining you. So, once the photos are clicked, you can post them onto your company’s social media wall, to showcase that you do not shy away when it comes to having fun. This will make the interested employees appreciate your company and help you attract even more talented individuals.
2.13 Use the Office’s Outdoor Space if Available
Office parties inside the rooms sound the usual deal. But if there is an outdoor space at the office, and there are no weather concerns, then what’s stopping you from having an open air party?
When the party is outdoors, your employees will be more relaxed and the general mood will be uplifted even more. A venue change from your usual cubicles can be quite the upgrade. You could also add further decorations to the exterior to make sure that everyone is comfortable and delighted at the change of settings.
2.14 Let People Choose the Background Music
The kind of background music you have during the happy hour could either make or break your entire event. To be sure that you start off on the right note, ask your employees the genre of music that they would like to be played. You can also slip in a note saying special song requests will only be entertained if the requester dances to the tune.
2.15 Invite a Guest Speaker for a Motivational Speech
You can invite guest speakers to bring out their sides of the story during the work happy hours. The topics of these speeches can be anything. You also get the leverage of inviting people from any industry, or even a motivational speaker, if that’s what you want. Keep these speeches short, around 15 or 20 minutes. After that, the usual happy hour food and drink session can start.
2.16 Hire a Professional Stand Up Comedian
You know what they say about laughter being the best medicine. Then I’d say stand up comedians are the doctors we need if we could use some cheering up! Invite a local artist to your happy hour event and have him or her dish out some amazing work-appropriate jokes.
Good comedians can read their audience and involve members in the act. After all, the participation is where half the fun is, right? . Hosting a few local talents in your happy hour would do them and your workers a world of good. You can also ask some of your own employees to write jokes about their coworkers or perform mimicry acts.
2.17 Explore Creativity with Food
Food is an integral part of the happy hour, and we have already mentioned that before. So how about a cookie baking competition, where people bring the most colourful and designer cookies that make you admire them as well as being hungry?
If cookies and baking isn’t really your thing, then you participants can also bring the most creative and different sandwich they can rustle up. If someone has an old grandmother’s delicious recipe that he/she hasn’t had a chance to show off, then this is a great chance for them too. The main idea here is to get a conversation started around the uniqueness of the food.
2.18 Investigate the Neighbourhood
To make the best out of your work happy hour, you can also go out with the entire office and check out the office neighbourhood. Be sure to check out the various local eateries, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores – anything. Spending time with your employees away from the office, while you take walks with them exploring your office’s neighbourhood will help everyone bond better.
2.19 Organize a Potluck Lunch
If you’ve never heard about the potluck lunch, then this is one of the happy hour ideas you should definitely give a try for your next happy hour at work. A potluck is a lunch where everyone brings their own home cooked food items and keeps it at the table, ready to be shared among all. If your office has workers with different ethnicities, then this is a great way to explore global cuisines and taste food items you could never have experienced otherwise.
2.20 Switch it Up with Soft Drinks
Who says that you always need to have alcohol during happy hours? Indulge in non-alcoholic smoothies, shakes, mocktails and fruit flavoured drinks! Substituting soft drinks is one of the best happy hour ideas for those times when there’s an important deadline coming up, or when you need everyone to stay at their sharpest for a late evening meeting.
3.1 What are some office happy hour tips?
Here are some tips to make the happy hour even more fun:
- Make the event optional, don’t force your employees to attend the program
- Hire a professional bartender or a catering service
- Keep lots of activities
- Enjoy a few drinks but do not get drunk
- Spend time with everyone in the office, not just to your friend from the next cubicle
3.2 What is a good happy hour drink?
Happy hour liquor tastes can vary from person to person, but these are some of the favourites:
- Vodka tonics
- Gin and tonic
- Red wine
- White wine
3.3 What do you talk about at work during happy hour?
The main aim of happy hour ideas is to let the employees mingle among themselves and get to know each other. So, you’re not expected to talk about work. However, if someone starts a conversation around work you can slightly chip in, but don’t get very engrossed.
3.4 What are a few office happy hour themes?
The themes can be anything – as long as it is fun and keeps everyone happy. You can theme it around the tv show that everyone’s hooked on, like Game of Thrones or maybe The Office. Themes based on movies such as Lord of the Rings and Marvel’s Avengers will also be quite fun for everyone. As long as it can reduce the workplace stress and is office-appropriate, everything’s on the table.