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Company Happy Hour: Why, How, and Tips

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Hosting a happy hour for your employees, clients, and vendors will boost morale.

It is also a fun excuse to bring people together. It gives your team a chance to socialize, meet new friends, and connect with their colleagues.

Why you should listen to me: Before I wrote The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I hosted hundreds of cocktail parties and happy hours all over the world. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties. This post will help you with some tips and tricks to make your company happy hour a success.

What is a Happy Hour?

A happy hour is a gathering where your employees get to unwind with colleagues. You can have drinks and food together, typically after the workday has ended.

Socializing outside of work encourages team bonding and helps people make new friends. It can build relationships among external partners at your business. It can also be a great way to recruit new employees or activate your sales funnel.

4 Happy Hour Tips

Here are some tips on how to ensure that your office happy hour is fun and successful:

Read my complete article about How to Host a Happy Hour for a checklist of exactly what to do and how to plan it.

1. Host it on a Non-Competitive Weeknight

Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday nights are the best time. Most people don’t have social plans on these nights and would love to do something interesting.

I call these “Green Level Party Days” because they’re the easiest to schedule.

When you do that, you’re not hosting your event on a socially competitive day like Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. It’s common for people to already have their social activities planned for these days, making it unlikely for them to attend your event.

Holidays are a bad idea as well. Avoid them!

2. Plan Your Event for Three Weeks Out

When you plan your happy hour at least three weeks away, you can give your guests enough time to plan on attending your event. This will boost you attendance rate.

You want at least 15 RSVPs to your event, and three weeks is enough time to do that. I call this “The Party Runway.”

Three weeks also gives you plenty of time to organize your event without stress. You’ll need to buy a few necessary supplies and plan out icebreakers.

By the way, I recommend hosting your happy hour in your office or your home. This adds a nice personal touch to help connect with your guests.

3. Collect RSVPs on an Online Event Platform

A great way to provide information and conveniently follow up with your guest.

The best part about having guests RSVP is it will boost your attendance rate. Once a person RSVPs on a page that others can see, it acts as a social contract for your guests to actually attend your event.

There are many different event platforms that you can use, so I wrote a guide on using them and which ones are my favorite: Event Platforms: Pros, Cons, and My Favorites.

As of March 2023, these are the event platforms that I like best:

Caution! I highly recommend that you do not use Evite, as they will spam your guests. This is a list of Evite alternatives that you can use instead.

4. Make an Ask

You can use your company happy hour to ask a favor of your attendees. For example, to get them to help you share a job post, announce a new product, or even just to say hello to someone new.

The perfect time to make your ask is towards the end of your event when the energy is high and everyone is enjoying themselves.

When you have everyone’s attention, ask for help in the following ways:

  • Share a link
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Share this new job posting
  • Download our app
  • Leave a review

Waiting until the day after your event to make your ask is a mistake. All the hype and energy you have created will be gone. This makes it much harder for you to actually get your guests to take the action you want.

Company Happy Hour Ideas

Here are a few themes and ideas for things to do at your office happy hour:

Icebreakers

Icebreakers are the best way to smooth out the meeting process. Go around in a circle and have everyone answer a few easy questions.

Four of my favorite icebreaker questions are:

  • What’s your favorite breakfast?
  • Have you ever met anyone famous?
  • What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
  • What’s the best thing you bought in the past year?

I recommend keeping it to less than 30 seconds per person.

For a complete guide on how to do icebreakers and a list of icebreaker questions, see my article How to Do Icebreakers: The Ultimate Guide.

Provide Background Music

My personal favorite music to play during a happy hour is simply a Beach Boys playlist.

But any playlist that is upbeat but not too loud or not too aggressive will work. Keep the music volume at a level that still allows everyone to talk to each other easily. See a few sample party playlists here that I’ve collected.

Offer Multiple Beverage Options

Provide two bottles of each red & white wine. You should also provide two bottles of hard liquor. Whiskey, tequila, and vodka are good choices.

Alcohol is great for socializing, but not everyone drinks it. Non-alcoholic seltzers are something that almost everyone likes! Plus you can easily make mixed drinks with them. Provide at least 24 cans of seltzer.

Juices, sodas, and smoothies are other great drinks to provide.

For a complete list of party supplies, see this article- Party Supplies List: Everything You Need For A Party in 2023.

Help Attendees Wind Down

If you want to provide an experience that most of your guests haven’t seen at a happy hour before, hire a masseuse or masseur. You can offer free shoulder and neck massages.

Conclusion

Your team will love the chance to socialize, meet new friends, and connect with their colleagues at a company happy hour.

Follow these tips and see how much stronger your team will work together:

Have a great event! And let me know how it goes.

Do you want to make wonderful friends, strengthen relationships, and accelerate your career by hosting events?

My name is Nick Gray. I wrote a book called The 2-Hour Cocktail Party that teaches you how to have a successful party for your friends, neighbors, or your business. Download the first few chapters for free to see exactly how it works.

When are you planning your next event? Send me an email with the date of your event. I will assist you by being your accountability partner and offering additional advice.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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