Happy Hour Engagement

Regular happy hours boost morale, enhance team bonding, and encourage open communication.

Employee happy hours foster a vibrant workplace culture, facilitating informal interactions that strengthen team bonds and improve communication. These gatherings encourage community and belonging, which is crucial for employee morale and retention. 

Allowing employees to unwind and celebrate achievements boosts morale and enhances job satisfaction. This not only enriches company culture but also positions the company as a desirable place to work, attracting top talent.

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happy hour colleagues

Make Happy Hour a Habit

happy hour professional teamwork cheerful people

Having a set time for everyone to connect gives team members a chance to mingle and chat, whether they’re in the same office or working remotely. Virtual Happy Hours, done through video calls, are also a great way to establish and keep the camaraderie alive.

Happy hours are even better when they are ongoing, for example on a monthly basis, so they become a regular part of an employee’s work life.

Make sure to schedule them during the work day. It is time well spent.

Video calls can sometimes be intimidating, especially to new participants. Work to make them less stilted by creating a more engaging and comfortable environment for participants.

Happy Hour Tips

When choosing suitable days for employee happy hours, consider working days, holiday seasons, and special occasions. Exact days will likely vary depending on the company’s location and culture, here’s a general guide that can be adapted to most situations:

End of Work Weeks

Typically, Fridays are great for happy hours as they mark the end of the workweek, allowing employees to unwind without worrying about work the next day.

End of Months or Quarters

Last working day of the month or quarter: Celebrating the end of a month or a financial quarter can be a good time for a happy hour, especially if the company has hit its targets.

Special Occasions

Company Anniversary: Celebrating the company’s founding.

Major Milestones: Achieving significant milestones or project completions.

Holiday Seasons: Near major holidays, but not too close that people have started taking time off. This includes periods before Christmas, Thanksgiving (in the US), or similar major national holidays in other countries.


Major Holiday Weeks: Such as the week of Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and other major national or religious holidays when people are likely to be off work or have plans.

Mondays and Tuesdays: Starting the week, people are usually more focused on work.

Busy Periods: Avoid periods known for high workload or stress, such as end-of-year closing for finance departments.

Paying for Food and Drinks

Visa or Gift Card: Sending each employee a Visa or Gift card in advance increases participation, and limits company sponsored consumption.

Expense Reports: Delivery on the front end eliminates expense reports.

Remote Workers: Don’t forget to include remote workers, set up two laptops. One for the open area with microphone off and one in a quiet sport so that employees can jump on and say hi!

Other Considerations

Spring and Fall: These seasons often have pleasant weather, making them ideal for outdoor happy hours.

Remote Workers: Don’t forget to include remote workers, set up two laptops. One for the open area with the microphone off and one in a quiet spot so that employees can drop in and say hi!

When To Start My Happy Hour Tradition?

Many organizations have started their tradition of Happy Hours by celebrating one of these special occasions.

Any reason is a good reason to celebrate and collaborate. These dates all make great “excuses” to start your own tradition of Happy Hour. And there are many more here.

National Employee Appreciation Day

First Friday of March

National Cocktail Day

March 24

National Beer Day

April 7

International Cocktail Day

May 13

National Donut Day

First Friday of June

National Martini Day

June 19

International Day of Friendship

July 30

International Fun at Work Day

August 2

International Beer Day

August 2

National Day of Encouragement

September 12

World Gratitude Day

September 24

International Coffee Day

October 1

Mental Health Awareness Day

October 30

National Cappuccino Day

November 8

Hot Cocoa Day

December 13

National Pizza Day

February 9

Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 17

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Reasons For Team Happy Hours

Department, team and company happy hours are aimed at enhancing the workplace environment and giving employees a casual opportunity to interact with coworkers away from the day-to-day work exchanges.  

They may occur in the office, over video conferencing (to incorporate remote workers) or held at a local bar, restaurant, or pub.

Here are some common reasons for organizing Happy Hours:

Team Building:
Happy hours provide an informal setting for team members to interact and build relationships, which helps improve team cohesion and communication.

Celebrating Milestones:
Use happy hours to celebrate achievements and milestones and recognize the hard work of teams or individuals. It’s a great way to acknowledge success and motivate employees.

Welcoming New Employees:
Happy hours serve as a casual introduction for new team members, helping them get to know their colleagues in a relaxed setting and feel part of the team more quickly.

Encouraging Cross-departmental Interaction:
In a larger group meeting, happy hours provide a rare opportunity for employees who might not interact to meet and mingle, promoting a sense of unity across the company.

Boosting Employee Morale:
Happy Hours can offer a fun and enjoyable activity and boost employee morale, making team members feel appreciated and valued.

Networking Opportunities:
Happy Hours also serve as networking opportunities, where employees can share ideas, discuss professional development, and form connections that aid in their career paths within the company.

Encouraging Company Culture:
Happy hours are an excellent way to reinforce company culture, showcasing elements like openness, fun, and the human side that many employees value.

Informal Feedback Exchange:
Less formal settings allow employees to feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feedback about work, which often provides valuable insights.

Enhancing Creativity and Innovation:
Socializing in a different environment can stimulate new ideas and perspectives, which enhances creativity and innovation.

Employee Happy Hour at a brew pub with employees toasting success

Happy Hours are just a fun, casual get together.  They are meant for employees to interact and get to know one another. Keep it light. You can discuss company business just a bit, and give out small awards and tokens to get the party started.

Ice Breaker Activities:

Start the meeting with a quick icebreaker or warm-up activity. It could be as simple as a casual check-in and sharing a fun fact, a brief story, or a non-work-related update.

Casual Check-ins:

Begin the meeting with a casual check-in where participants can share how their day is going or discuss any interesting happenings. This helps create a more personal connection.

Express Appreciation:

Take a moment to express appreciation for team members’ efforts or achievements. Positive reinforcement fosters a sense of camaraderie.

Rotate Hosting Responsibilities:

Have different team members take turns leading the meeting or facilitating discussions. This helps distribute the responsibility and keeps things fresh.

Personal Achievements:

Ask participants to share a recent personal or professional achievement. It’s a positive way to celebrate each other’s successes.

Use Humor:

Incorporate humor when appropriate. A well-timed joke or a light-hearted comment can help ease tension and create a more relaxed atmosphere. Make sure all jokes are “G” rated!

Set a Relaxed Tone:

Set a relaxed and inclusive tone from the beginning. Let participants know that it’s okay to share thoughts and ideas openly.

Encourage Video-On Participation:

Encourage participants to turn on their video cameras. Seeing each other’s faces adds a human touch and makes the conversation feel more personal.

Breaking The Ice At Virtual Happy Hours

woman at virtual happy hour

Celebrate Employee Achievement with Awards!

Celebrating with awards or gifts shows appreciation for employees and boosts morale in the workplace. Recognizing small achievements and milestones can help create a sense of team camaraderie and a culture of fun.

However, it’s important to be consistent and follow any rules the organization has established.

Small awards or gifts can be a great way to show appreciation for employees and build a positive work culture.

Co-workers clapping for awards

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