Feeling the urge to get your team together for some drinks, pastries, or even a rowdy game of charades? Sounds like you’re ready to host a work happy hour event!
Happy hours—as you might be able to tell from the name—encourage happiness in the workplace. They build connections between employees, encourage friendships, and boost engagement and job satisfaction. Plus, as you also might expect from the name, they can be done in just an hour. Sometimes two, if you really want to go hard.
Better still, you don’t even have to brainstorm your own list of happy hour ideas. We’ve done that for you below. Then, stick around and let us reassure you that your desire to help your teammates connect is worth the effort, and get the lowdown on how often happy hours are needed in order to be effective.
If hosting work happy hours on your own seems intimidating, get in touch with Firefly Team Events. We’re pros at putting together engaging team-building activities that help your team feel like an actual team.
Your Go-to List Of Work Happy Hour Ideas
Because not all office environments are alike (and because sometimes you just need to try something new and different!) we’ve separated the following happy hour ideas for work into three categories:
- In the office
- Out of the office
As much as possible, we advise mixing it up from one event to the next.
If you’re used to hosting events in your conference room, try taking everyone to the park or the beach for a couple of hours. If you’re looking for something simple that can be squeezed in on an extended lunch break, the in-office ideas could be a great fit. Finally, if your remote team is scattered all over the place, opt for a virtual activity to make everyone feel close without having to fork out cash for plane tickets and hotel stays.
Keep in mind, most of the virtual events can also be done in person. So if you see something that strikes your fancy and you want to take it offline, go for it!
In The Office:
Have you ever seen the show Minute to Win It? If so, you’ll know where we get the inspiration for this event! The only thing that can make this wacky, hilarious competition even better is if you serve drinks and make it an official happy hour with cocktails.
Originally designed as a kids’ game, Blind Portraits can be a great way to get everyone laughing out loud after a tough day in the office. All you’ll need are some paper, pencils, and a clipboard or something hard to write on, so the prep for this event is minimal.
3. Human Bingo
Imagine a bingo card filled with the names of coworkers. In order to fill up their card, contestants must find the person in each square and—ideally—exchange some lighthearted tidbits of information.
4. Finding Commonalities
You can run this event as a twist on Human Bingo—to check off each square, a participant must find what they have in common with the other person—or on its own. By the end of the night, everyone should know at least one thing they have in common with each other person in the room.
5. Balance Challenges
How long can you stand on one foot?
How long can you stand on one foot while hopping around with a book on your head?
How long can you do all of the above when you’ve had a few drinks and your colleagues are laughing hysterically?
You see where this is going.
6. Costume Party
Dream up a creative theme and see who can put together the best costume. You can have everyone change into their costumes after work, of course, but it’s way more fun to encourage folks to wear them all day long.
7. Wine And Painting
If you think you’re a good artist when you’re sober, try putting your skills up against your teammates while you all sample wines and cocktails freely. Hang the best artwork in the office after the party!
8. Desk Decorating Competition
Who can decorate someone else’s desk in the most cheerful, prettiest, or silliest way? Choose materials beforehand or let everyone use their own creativity; it’s up to you!
9. Coffee And Pastries
Many happy hour ideas feature adult beverages to help everyone let their hair down. For the non-drinking crowd, you can always substitute coffee for alcohol and bring in some pastries for an extra treat.
10. Enjoy Brunch
Not everyone will want to stay after work to join a happy hour event. You can always order in a nice brunch and give the team a mid-morning break!
11. Play Charades
If you play at the office—and bring in some booze—this doesn’t have to be your typical game of family-friendly charades. Encourage folks to loosen up with some categories that push the envelope just a tiny bit.
12. Video Game Competition
From Tetris to Call of Duty, there are a ton of games that are great for parties and lend themselves well to competitions. Winner gets to leave an hour early on Friday!
Potluck dinners are a lot of work, but potluck snacks are great for the office. Everyone can bring whatever they want to munch on, as long as they bring enough for others to share!
After the beverages have been flowing for a while, your group might be ready to get onstage and rock out to some classics.
Out Of The Office:
15. Red Paper Clip Challenge
What can you trade for a paper clip? If you’re Kyle MacDonald, you could barter all the way up to a new home.
While we doubt your employees will be closing on a new house within the hour or two it takes to complete this challenge, you might be surprised to see some of the creative swaps your teammates make!
Performing kind acts for other people is a tried-and-true way to boost those happy brain chemicals and get everyone feeling warm toward each other. See who can do the most good over the course of a day, and then compare notes after work.
17. Fancy Dinner
While this one isn’t likely to spark fits of raucous laughter, a nice dinner out on the corporate dime can certainly make your coworkers feel appreciated.
18. Scavenger Hunt
Almost everyone carries an Android or an iPhone these days, which means your team is already equipped with the powerful cameras they’ll need to complete this creative, silly game. Participants will run around the game area (which is ideally a large, outdoor space, such as the streets of your local city) and complete ridiculous challenges with photo evidence.
19. Pub Hops And Brewery Tours
Get everyone out on the town (and a little bit tipsy) with a pub hopping or brewery touring adventure.
20. Garden Party
Seek out a nearby botanical garden, arboretum, or local park, and bring your picnic baskets and wine!
21. Be A Tourist
Even if you’ve all lived in your city for years, chances are there are at least some tourist attractions no one has ever visited. Now is the time to seek them out!
22. Alternative Beverages
How about instead of hitting the bar, your team heads to the nearest bubble tea joint or milkshake shop? These can be just as fun as alcohol and often more appropriate for some occasions.
23. Comedy Club
If your office workers share a similar sense of humor, a visit to a comedy club can be a great way to get everyone to relax and laugh together.
24. Beer Tasting
If beer doesn’t loosen up your team, you might have bigger problems.
Kidding aside, a virtual beer tasting experience is actually a great way to encourage folks to talk freely and be more laid-back, especially on a Zoom call from the privacy of their own homes.
Jackbox Games has done a phenomenal job putting together a variety of virtual games appropriate for a variety of settings. With the family-friendly options, you can have a great time playing games online with your team without worrying about someone’s little ones wandering into the background of your video call.
26. Keep-A-Straight-Face Challenge
Dad joke connoisseurs, your time has come. Challenge your teammates to keep a straight face for three whole minutes while you regale them with the most hilarious jokes and wacky antics you can think of.
27. Trivia Games
Break out a traditional trivia game or have everyone submit their own questions. Themes are up to you!
28. Song Trivia
Similarly, you can choose several songs and see who can guess the most correctly based on snippets of just a few seconds.
29. Conversation Prompts
Before your get-together, have everyone submit a list of three to five questions they’d like to ask others in their group. There’s no better way to get to know each other! Or you can use our random question generator!
|What TV show character would be the most fun to change places with for a week?|
What is your most fervent dream for the future?
What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?
You’re leaving tomorrow for a long road trip. What are you listening to on the ride?
What’s the last great show you binge-watched?
30. Classic Teenager Games
If you thought “Never Have I Ever” and “Truth or Dare” were just for sleepovers, think again.
Why are workplace happy hours so important?
Managers, picture this scenario:
An interview went perfectly, and you’ve hired a new employee to join your team. Your interviewee showed up in their best classy-but-not-trying-too-hard office attire, answered your questions with competence, and chuckled with appreciation at all your jokes. They even nodded politely when you dropped the line, “We’re all a family here!”
After the hire, your employee went to work in their secluded cubicle, started to tackle the mountainous backlog of work on their desk, and even swallowed back a comment about their deskmate’s fondness for microwaving smelly fish in the break room. The new hire doesn’t seem to be interacting much with the rest of the team—and come to think of it, not many of your employees really engage in workplace chats—but you’re sure that will come with time. Just because your teammates are a little distant from one another doesn’t mean anything is wrong… Does it?
Unfortunately, when your employees keep to themselves and don’t make any effort to interact beyond basic necessities, that’s a sign they definitely do not feel like a family here. Overlook the disconnect between your employees for too long, and you’ll wind up with a “team” (we use that word loosely) of people who barely know each other, don’t make the effort to chat, feel lonely and bored at work, and eventually become dissatisfied with their job environments. Uh oh.
Regular work happy hour events are a ridiculously simple way to solve this problem!
How often should your office do team-building happy hour activities?
It depends on the scale of your activities. As awesome as it would be to do a scavenger hunt or have virtual beer tasting every day, it’s probably not a great idea if you actually want to get work done sometimes.
With that said, ideally you do want to have at least something every day that helps your employees connect. Little daily micro-interactions can go a long way toward keeping everyone close and comfortable with each other. Think team lunches in the break room for thirty minutes or a fifteen minute “how are you doing?” catch-up in the morning.
It’s good to host slightly larger-scale activities about once per week. Don’t stress if you can’t seem to pull the whole team into a structured activity on a regular basis, however; sometimes a weekly informal Zoom chat or an optional drink after work with the team is all you need to foster a sense of friendship and belonging among your employees.
Then, you can plan some of the larger-scale activities we discussed above every once in a while. Some company leaders like to host an official corporate happy hour on a quarterly basis, while others prefer a yearly, monthly, or once-in-a-blue-moon cadence.
The schedule is up to you, but we do recommend bringing everyone together for a team happy hour whenever you start to sense people drifting apart. If you can’t quite remember if Susan’s baby Tom is a human or a puppy, it’s past time to reconnect!
Though the daily and weekly mini happy hours are important, it’s these big, fun events that will be most memorable to your employees. The lasting impressions they form during a structured team happy hour with fun activities will compound the benefits they get from daily interactions.
Sometimes a weekly informal Zoom chat or an optional drink after work with the team is all you need to foster a sense of friendship and belonging among your employees.
Sometimes, a commonly shared icebreaker—”Remember the time we were doing that scavenger hunt and Alex kept trying to make up his own clues so he could steer us all toward the bar?”—is all your employees need to break past the small talk and begin to form lasting connections.
Ready to plan your next big happy hour event? Let Firefly Team Events help you shake things up a little.
Whether your cup runneth over with happy hour office ideas or you’re still in search of the perfect activity for your next work get-together, Firefly is here to help. We’ve got tons of fun team-building exercises, a huge knowledge base, and a generous helping of passion and dedication toward encouraging people to get to know each other and build rapport.
We can take directions just as easily as we take charge, so let us know whether you’d like to plan a customized activity or you prefer to be as hands-off as possible during the planning process.
…Get A Quote!