Are you and your colleagues feeling totally drenched in the stress of your nine-to-five? If so, it’s time to release that tension with the addition of a new happy hour routine. Develop a healthy regimen of fun to ease your workload with some creative happy hour ideas for work. Here are a few to get you started.
Change your look
Does your office environment demand that you wear a drab, grey-and-white or black-and-white uniform? Do you ride to the office decked in a conventional suit and tie or heels? Or are you allowed to be more creative, but feel stressed every day having to choose a savvy outfit? If so, a change in attire can really lighten the mood for everyone.
Options include offering a generic costume day in which people dress up as a favorite celebrity, movie, or book character. The bonus with this idea is that you can then set aside an hour for drinks and munchies and play a game to figure out who people are dressed as. A more cozy and playful idea is to have pajama day, or dress-down day. Just be sure to leave your lingerie and boxer shorts behind!
Have a healthy potluck
While at work, many of us have plentiful access to fast food venues, and non-stop filter coffee makes caffeine hard to resist. Why not drop the sugar and fat and facilitate a work community potluck? This would require some advance planning so you and your busy office mates have time to prepare something the night before. Additionally, you will have to take a survey of the office to determine whether people have allergies and how to accommodate various restrictions for those people who eat only vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or low-sugar. Religious requirements should also be considered, such as no beef, Halal, or Kosher.
Once you understand the restrictions you need to incorporate for the community’s comfort, you can pass around a sign-up sheet where everyone can note down what they will bring along. Innovative, tech-savvy workplaces may consider using Google Drive for the project. Finally, make sure people who are busy—those with family obligations or other matters—can still participate by contributing beverages or store-bought snacks. Even those who miss the ball should come along for the fun; it’s all about creating a sense of community and enjoying a much-needed break!
Go to sleep
This might sound a bit extreme at first, but consider how humans operate so much better after a fifteen minute nap. Eight or nine hours of almost non-stop thinking is more than people’s brains can manage, and that is assuming they had enough sleep the night before and are generally healthy. It is perfectly acceptable to catch some Zs mid-work day.
To create a sleep-friendly enterprise, consider creating a mini sleep station, complete with seductive, sleep-inducing cushions and comfy blankets. At minimum, it can be a place to restore and refresh. For those who are a bit anxious to snore in front of their boss, load it up with sweet-smelling teas, novels, and an iPad with nature music. Even if you don’t completely fall asleep, the zone can offer great comfort and a place to relax when your brain requires it.
Dance your legs out
Consider the new wave in office acrobatics. Nowadays, many offices offer non-sitting workstations where people work while standing at their laptops. In some cases, these workstations can be quite sophisticated, offering back support to make the experience even more comfortable. Well, if this is the new wave, then why not get even more physical and have a dance party?
Each week, designate one person as the official dance-party leader, whereby they select the music, call the time, and lead the party. Encourage a mix of music and dance styles. The person should be responsible for making everyone feel comfortable by cheering on the group. Those who don’t feel comfortable letting loose, or who cannot dance for reasons of disability or illness, should be offered other movements or gestures to help them take part.
Run (or walk) like the wind
An extension of the dance-party routine is the group communal run or walk. While this should not be made mandatory, it should definitely be a commitment—for example, every Wednesday for three months, the walkers will meet by the elevator or in the lobby at 10 a.m. 10 a.m. is a good time because by then, people have generally had their morning coffee or tea, checked their email to make sure nothing is too urgent, and have settled in but not become fully engrossed in the day’s projects. Mid-week is recommended since it helps blow off steam, with neither the Monday pressure to put out weekend fires, nor Friday deadlines.
Schedule a massage break
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s certainly a welcome treat for many to have a professional come in to help ease stress. A professional can visit each person at their cubicle for a simple head, neck, and shoulder massage or set up a full table in a discrete area of the office. If it’s pricey to maintain this regular routine, consider calling on the services of a student or entry-level practitioner. Such individuals typically do a great job, but at a lower cost, and you’ll be offering them practice hours for their certification.
Host a movie night at the office
The idea may seem a tad old-fashioned, but the tested and true move night is still an optimal choice. Enjoying a great flick together can really help people bond. Comedies are the ideal choice since they appeal to majority taste and get everyone laughing. It is said, in fact, that laughing together over a good joke can create a sense of unity. Furthermore, after a long, stressful day, some people do not have the energy to go to a party or share themselves in an overly social atmosphere. A relaxing movie allows people to be together, but still take their minds off work.
Try a Secret Santa
Sometimes a fun way to engage everyone’s creative side is to get them involved in gift-giving (and receiving). Secret Santa, named for its typical application during Christmastime, happens when everyone prepares a small gift for another person in the group. Over break or lunch, all gifts are placed in the center, individually wrapped for a sense of surprise. By lottery, people accept gifts or select from the pile anonymously. No one should know who provided the gift until they receive it.
For the most effective community-building results, humourous gifts work best. Also, make a golden rule—for example, nothing should cost over five dollars—to create a sense of equality among the crowd. Better yet, why not choose a theme? “Things your grandmother gets you for the holiday” is one option. Hopefully, not everyone will receive a pair of new socks.
Happy hour menu ideas
It can be difficult to find fun activities at work, but just like the case for getting fresh air and exercise, group cooking can be both relaxing and fun. Choose a favorite dish by surveying the workplace, bearing in mind any allergies, dietary restrictions, and food preferences. Note down the optimal choices and let the group cast their vote. Here are some famous happy hour menu ideas:
It requires teamwork for beginners, and though it might not turn out perfectly (unless you have star chefs at the office), the experience can be both challenging and a good bonding experience.
They are harder to get wrong and success is more likely. You can also be fun and creative with these by adding bright colors, sprinkles, and extras.
Tomato pasta or fettuccine
This lunch option feeds everyone in the office and makes an affordable and delicious meal. Sometimes, the more mess you make, the more fun you have, so everyone should get involved in wiping up corners and mopping floors after eating the favorite dish, of course.
There are countless creative ways to capture the imagination of office staff and enjoy a much-needed happy hour away from the daily grind. It’s important to facilitate a sense of community and belonging at work, and feeling connected to others will help everyone meet their obligations. A happy staff is a purposeful staff, and in the end, being truly happy is what matters most.