How to Plan An Office Happy Hour

by Jan 14, 2021

office happy hour

Thinking of ways to celebrate accomplishments with your employees or just get to know them on a more personal but still professional level? Try hosting an office happy hour!

What is an Office Happy Hour?

Happy Hours are specific days or times used by restaurants and bars dedicated to offering reduced priced drinks and food items. These time periods are made to attract consumers to their bars and restaurants. Companies have found a way to use this idea to bring their employees together to bond and unwind after hours. In its most simple form, an office happy hour is a way to have a drink and socialize. 

An office happy hour is a great way to connect with employees after the tension of the work day is over and everyone has the chance to relax. Office happy hours can be used to treat employees for all their hard work or just as a way to get to know staff members better. Office happy hours have the ability to boost morale and create a positive work environment. 

Throwing a successful office happy hour requires some planning and preparation. You must think about what kind of food will be served, what drinks will be had, and if there are any specific circumstances that could raise some concerns, such as if one of your employees or coworkers has had problems with alcohol in the past. If you do serve alcohol, consider creating a two drink limit or offering rides with designated drivers or a ride sharing service. 

Setting The Date

Planning is key when creating an office happy hour for your employees. They must be scheduled with plenty of time in between so you have ample time to get the word out and make preparations. 

Make sure to host your happy hour at a good time of day and be aware of the schedules of your employees and traffic patterns so workers can have time to make it to the event and leave at a decent time with little to no interruptions. 

Turn Your Dream Happy Hour into Reality

It’s important that your happy hour is something that is looked forward to by your employees or coworkers. The happy hour should not have required attendance. Your employees should be able to agree to or decline the invitation. 

However, those that do come should look forward to it. Having a goal for your social is important for creating activities. Is the goal to relax and have some downtime? A time to strengthen your bond as a team? Or a gathering to learn about each other?

Plan some activities to create a lively atmosphere for your office happy hour. Create themed games like bingo, two truths and a lie, or a scavenger hunt. Giving your employees an experience that they can all enjoy will help boost morale and bring the company together. 

Utilize Your Space

Create a relaxing atmosphere based on your space. If outdoor space is available, utilize it. Hang string lights, garlands, photos of other office functions around your space. Hosting outside gives your employees a chance to enjoy the city or greenery around them while also getting some fresh air. 

Create a Theme

Make a fun theme to your office happy hour. A 1920’s style, 90’s mixer, or office olympics are just a few ideas. A 20’s style happy hour could include drinks inspired by the era and fancy decor. A 90’s mixer could include 90’s playlists and colorful clothing. Office olympics could include tiki torches and themed games. 

Happy Hour Drinks

As previously mentioned, consider limiting the how much alcohol is served to your employees. Think about offering drinks with a low alcohol content, or making it so that employees can only consume two glasses of beer or two glasses of wine.

 If alcohol is uncomfortable for your employees, consider serving different flavors of coffee or tea, creating a non-alcoholic atmosphere. Other options of drinks include, smoothies, craft teas (hot or iced), sodas and energy drinks, or make a milkshake bar with different flavors, syrups, and mix-ins. An office happy hour doesn’t have to include alcohol to make it fun and a good bonding experience. 

Another way to limit how many drinks are had, if you plan to go the route with alcohol, is to give a small coin or token to your employees. The coin or token would be used to “pay” for drinks. The coin would be given to the person giving out or making drinks. Once the coin is taken, the person gets no more drinks. This limits the amount of alcohol a person has. 

Depending on the budget, you could also hire a licensed bartender. This gives the company another layer of protection, just in case. A bartender is able to create a tab for each person. It is their job to make sure each person stops drinking at the appropriate time. 

Hiring a professional to serve nonalcoholic beverages is an option as well. Consider bringing in a barista from a local coffee shop to create a multitude of coffee and tea drinks for your employees. Your employees may find a new favorite drink to get on their morning commute with this method. 

Happy Hour Food

When alcoholic or nonalcoholic drinks are served at a function, food should be too. Consider asking your employees or coworkers if they have any dietary restrictions. You want to make sure that everyone you want to come to your office happy hour feels included. Serving different options of food or snacks, like vegetarian or vegan alternatives, is a way to help all members of your staff feel included. 

Instead of serving basic chip bowls or a veggie tray, consider hiring a catering service to provide a meal or have appetizers or entrees delivered from a local pub or restaurant. This gives your employees sustenance in between drinks. 

Another option would be to have a potluck. Each member of your team would bring a different dish to bring. This minimizes the cost you would spend on your happy hour. It also gives people the opportunity to try new foods and experience their colleagues’ cooking. 

Creating Prizes or Giveaways 

No office happy hour would be complete without game prizes or a giveaway. Create more excitement to the end of the office games by coming up with fun prizes that everyone would enjoy. Consider making your prizes custom to your brand, so that your employees have some company swag to take home with them. 

Small game prizes could include:

Larger giveaway prizes could include:

Creating a positive environment 

During your office happy hour, you want to make sure that you’re creating a positive environment. Avoid uncomfortable or inappropriate situations by watching out for office mean girls (or boys), inappropriate conversations, and inappropriate actions. 

Making sure to keep your happy hour work appropriate is crucial to making sure these types of events can keep happening. Gossipping about your colleagues, flirting with your employees, having inappropriate conversations about life outside of the workplace, and inappropriate humor should not be tolerated at your happy hour. 

Office happy hours can be fun without these negative influences and should be used to create lasting bonds with your colleagues. Your employees should be aware that while the event should be used to have a fun time, they need to be mindful of their conversations and actions and keep things professional. 

Communicate After the Event

Whether your office happy hour turns into a great success or something you never want to do again, be open to feedback from members of your staff. Consider new ideas for themes, drinks, food, or location. 

If you don’t have time to talk to each person about their experience at the happy hour, consider making a Google forum or Survey through to get feedback on a larger, more accessible scale. This way, responses can be read and recorded and suggestions can be made for the next office happy hour. 

Next Steps

Hosting an office happy hour is a wonderful way to create strong bonds between supervisors and employees and reward the hard work of your team. Be mindful of potential complications or conflicts from making a nonalcoholic drink menu to inappropriate conversations and actions from your colleagues. 

Your office happy has the ability to be one of the most talked about and exciting events for your staff. By taking all the the necessary time, preparation, and planning, your happy hour will be a sophisticated and comfortable experience for everyone. The next time you are planning a social event for your company or office, plan an office happy hour that will be the talk of the office for months to come. We would be happy to help you find some swag items for your office happy hour event. Please pick a time to speak with us below!

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