Happy hour is widely known as a period of time during which the price of drinks and food is reduced, providing the perfect opportunity to unwind with friends and colleagues after the workday. In terms of timing, most happy hours take place between 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, though, in some cases it will go as early as 4 p.m. to as late as 8 p.m. As companies continue to offer employees more perks, many have implemented company happy hours due to the abundant amount of evidence that continues to prove that company happy hours are very good for business. According to Quartz at Work, company happy hours serve as a time and a place for employees to connect, see friends at work, make new ones, network, let their hair down, and get to know their colleagues in a relaxed setting.
Why are company happy hours important?
Decrease Stress and Boost Happiness
Team bonding and team building activities are a great way to relive stress for employees while bringing them closer together. One of the best ways to do this is by hosting an office happy hour for employees providing a casual and stress-free environment. As stated on inc.com, company happy hours are driving employee happiness up 66 percent.
A stronger bond between co-workers will make the days at the office run more smoothly, allow employees to understand each other better and increase cooperation. Getting together for happy hour is a great way for employees to build this bond. It gives employees the opportunity to learn things about their colleagues that they would never have known by simply working with them. This allows employees to see themselves as more than just co-workers and the more comfortable they feel with each other, the better the work environment will be.
Attract New Talent and Retain Current Employees
Company happy hours are also considered important by companies as it helps attract and retain new employees. According to a survey conducted by glassdoor.com, 89 percent of millennial employees cite workplace happiness as a reason they stay with a job. Company happy hours will create an additional incentive for people to apply for a job or stay at the company as it shows employees that the organization cares about company culture, the happiness of the employees and creating a good work-life balance. In today’s world, a good work-life balance is an important factor for those seeking a job.
Rewards Employees for Their Achievements
Finally, happy hours can serve as a reward for employees’ achievements, making them feel good about their work and helping them stay motivated to continue achieving more. Organizing a company happy hour to celebrate important milestones is the perfect way to make employees feel happy about their work and effort. According to Fast Company, happy employees are on average 12 percent more productive than their less-happy counterparts and nearly 90 percent of employees who received recognition or thanks from their boss in the past month showed higher levels of trust in that boss.
How to plan a company happy hour?
When planning a happy hour several things must be taken into consideration as it does come with potential legal liabilities for the company. The organizer should pay attention to state and local laws. Although it is generally assumed that adults will act responsible at company happy hours, 18 states hold the host who serves the alcohol responsible, i.e., the company.
Make it optional
The happy hour must be optional. Even if the happy hour is taking place during work hours, if alcohol is being served, there may be employees who cannot attend at all. For those who refrain from drinking, make sure that there are non-alcoholic are available as well.
The organizer should also serve food options at the company happy hour in addition to drinks. Whether it involves ordering pizzas, offering appetizers, or even just snacks, it’s a good idea to offer sustenance while employees are consuming alcohol.
A great idea to keep employees from drinking too much is to use drink tickets or to make it a cash bar during the company happy hour. Give employees a set number of drink tickets and allow them to spend them on the drinks they want. Alternatively, you can ask people to pay for their own drinks if you have your company happy hour after hours at a restaurant or bar.
Encourage friendly conversations
Lastly, the organizer should encourage non-work conversations. While it is tempting to chat about work with coworkers, happy hour is a time to relax and socialize. Encourage non-work conversations or activities to keep employees entertained.
What time should a company happy hour be held?
Company happy hour is typically held at 5 p.m. on Friday, although some businesses start earlier or do it on different days (or even every day). There is no hard rule that says they must be at 5.pm. For more information, see here.
Should I hire a professional bartender for a company happy hour?
It’s always great to have staff on hand to watch employees but it is recommended to hire an extra layer of protection and get a bartender. A bartender can keep tabs on employees and cut people off if they have had too much to drink.
How do I pick the right location for a company happy hour?
There is not one perfect location for a company happy hour, however, it is recommended to use outdoor space. Holding happy hour in an outdoor space gives employees the opportunity to breathe in a little fresh air and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city around them. It is also recommended to check out a few of the bars in the area or try a new restaurant, coffee shop, or cafe. The idea of work happy hour is really all about being together and celebrating the end of the workday.
What are some activities for a company happy hour?
Some ideas for activities include scavenger hunts, office Olympics, or playing board and card games. You could even do indoor sports such as ping pong, host a trivia night with company or local trivia questions. Bring in a speaker or panel (either from outside the company or from your own team or offer a class like wine tasting, art or cooking. For more information, see here.