I remember being asked to take the lead on my first office happy hour like it was yesterday. It started out as a perfect day, April 25 to be exact. It wasn’t too hot or too cold and all I needed was a light jacket.
There I was, hammering away at my keyboard, writing social content faster than E! spits out articles about the Kardashians when I received a message from our HR director, let’s call her Susan:
“Can you meet in my office for a sec :)”
My mind immediately started racing. What could this be about? Vivid flashbacks of the previous week, the week when I ventured out of my comfort zone and wore a knee-length skirt instead of dress pants. It was totally work-appropriate, right? Riiiight?! Oh god.
“Sure thing! I’ll be there in 5.”
After four and a half minutes of convincing myself Susan’s smiley face wasn’t passive aggressive, I made my way to her office to see what was up.
“Hey, Alexis”, Susan greeted me as I walked in. “As you know, the end of the quarter is coming up so it’s time to plan our next office happy hour. Would you be interested in planning it?”
After reflecting on how melodramatic I was five minutes prior I replied, “Absolutely!” And snatched the corporate card off Susan’s desk.
Okay, so that’s not exactly how it happened. However, being relatively new to the 9 to 5 scene at the time, I was nervous to plan an event for my colleagues. Maybe you can relate? If you’re a first-timer in putting together company cocktail hours, use these simple tips to start your planning on the right foot:
Timing is everything
Who doesn’t love a good work-sponsored happy hour? People who normally can’t make it because they’re overwhelmingly busy, that’s who. Before choosing a date, be sure to keep your co-workers in mind. Is your sales team slammed at the end of the month? Consider planning the happy hour for the 2nd instead of the 29th. Everyone deserves a little break, not just the people who happen to be less busy on the day you selected.
Secure a venue
Sure, this office soirée isn’t your wedding, but for the sake of your workplace reputation, let’s treat it as such. When choosing an out-of-office location, be sure to make it as convenient as possible. Research places that are close to your office and see if they offer any group specials. No one is going to want to drive five miles further from home to attend an office event. It’s not personal, rush hour traffic just makes people a bit selfish. If you’re balling on a budget, don’t panic. Make the most of a communal space with some music and organization. As long as the beverages are easily accessible, no one will care if you’re all lounging in the main conference room.
It’s all about options
Speaking of beverages, let’s talk selection. The most important part of throwing a great office happy hour is ensuring there’s something for everyone. Are you set on celebrating Wine Wednesday with pinot noir and assorted cheeses? Be sure to include beer and dairy-free hors d’oeuvres so everyone can indulge. Being considerate of your co-workers’ dietary restrictions and preferences will give you a lot of street cred when it comes to event planning.
Creativity is key
If you’re the one planning parties for your office, there’s a 10/10 chance you have a flare for the dramatic. Spice up the happy hour with a cocktail competition, celebrate the first day of summer with (spiked) root beer floats or give away office superlatives/awards. Think outside of the box to add something unique and ensure everyone feels included in your company’s next outing.
Are you the event-planning guru for your workplace? Share a photo of your office’s happy hour with the hashtag #FTFHappyHour on your Instagram story for a chance to be featured on our page!