Social drinking is a very common social activity across many cultures worldwide. For many cultures, this also includes social drinking in a business context. In some cases, this may be approached through a simple stop at a bar, while in others it may be a private cocktail hour hosted by the company.
RECOGNIZING EMPLOYEE ACHIEVEMENTS
Cocktail hours can also be used as a reward for various achievements or benchmarks. For example, a cocktail hour could be held in honor of an employee who has gone above and beyond with their achievements. Or, the company could plan a cocktail hour for when a particular quota has been met.
The cocktail hours could also be used as an occasion to present other awards or small tokens of appreciation. For example, you could present an employee with a certificate of achievement or hand out gifts such as beer steins, tumblers, barware, or gift cards.
IMPROVED MORALE AND INCREASED JOB SATISFACTION
One of the most significant benefits of hosting company cocktail hours is the way that it can make employees feel. Spending time bonding and creating memories with coworkers can significantly improve employees’ perceptions of their colleagues and the company as a whole.
Additionally, it can be a valuable stress reliever to break up the relative monotony of their work lives. This may be particularly successful if the company uses the opportunity to hold an interactive event or game. Trivia, talent shows, and ping pong are examples of activities that can get people more engaged.
PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Company cocktail hours also offer networking opportunities to all those involved. This is especially true if the cocktail hour is open to other professionals in your industry rather than solely for the benefit of those within the company. However, even in the latter case, there are potential networking opportunities due to the fact that colleagues can communicate openly with each other about non-work-related subjects.
Open and company-exclusive cocktail hours both allow employees to connect with others in their field and build opportunities to learn from them. In addition to skill development, professional networking opportunities can allow employees to build connections within the industry that they could leverage to benefit the company. For example, connections could inform employees about opportunities, such as industry-related events, and could put them in touch with potential clients.
TEAM BUILDING AND IMPROVED COMMUNICATION
Cocktail hours can also be valuable as an unofficial team-building opportunity. Time spent together in a leisurely setting can help people learn more about each other and become more comfortable together. For the same reason, cocktail hours can improve communication between colleagues. Employees can become more comfortable with each other and more familiar with how others in their company communicate.
Furthermore, employees may interact with people they do not typically interact with at work, which can positively impact inter-team collaboration. Your company can also achieve cross-departmental collaboration through other types of company get-togethers, such as barbecues and outdoor events.
All of the factors listed above can also boost productivity in various ways. Good morale, effective team building, skill development, and good communication can all ultimately boost productivity. As such, company cocktail parties and other such get-togethers and rewards are well worth the investment for a business. However, your company should throw them on strategic occasions to maximize their value.
CREATIVE IDEAS FOR YOUR COCKTAIL HOUR
Hydration is essential for peak athletic performance. According to Texas-based Children’s Health, proper hydration increases agility, mental acuity, endurance, muscle function, and energy while decreasing recovery time. Even if a child is only 2% dehydrated, they will see a noticeable decrease in performance in almost every athletic metric.
In addition to performance, dehydration could lead to conditions like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or cramps.
MIXOLOGY CLASSES AND WINE TASTINGS
Employers can incorporate mixology classes and wine tastings into their employee cocktail hours as a way to get employees more engaged with the activity. Employees may also be able to build closer relationships around the opportunity to level up their cocktail game. This can also coincide with other related activities such as building charcuterie boards and strategically pairing foods with drinks.
ENGAGING DECORATIONS AND FUN DRINKWARE
You can also make your cocktail hour more unique through the decorations and drinkware. Consider what atmosphere you want for the occasion and develop your ideas from there. Consider factors such as the formality of the event and any specific holidays or occasions that the cocktail hour is meant to celebrate. To simplify the process of finding appropriate decorations and accents that match well, consider choosing from particular collections.
ZOOM HAPPY HOURS IN A HYBRID/REMOTE OFFICE
Zoom happy hours are an option for hybrid or remote offices. This type of cocktail hour offers unique challenges and opportunities. To successfully host a Zoom happy hour, consider the following:
- What platform will be best? (Even though it’s “Zoom” happy hour, Google Meet and other video-conferencing platforms are options.)
- When is a convenient time for people to meet? (Be sure to consider different time zones.)
- Can encouraging decoration and costumes make the event more fun?
- What activities can be fun over a video-conferencing platform?
- Can you send gifts through the mail?
It will also always be helpful to ask employees for input about their preferences and concerns related to upcoming events.