The office happy hour is a great way to get the team together and bond. It’s a chance to enjoy drinks, snack on appetizers, and generally decompress from work life. However, if you’re not careful with planning your event, it can lead to more than just an increased stress level for everyone involved. It can create tension between previously friendly coworkers or even friends.

If you want to avoid this situation and ensure that your next office happy hour goes off without any problems, here are the top things you should avoid while planning an office happy hour.

Don’t Push Alcohol

While you may be tempted to push alcohol at your office happy hour, it’s not the only thing that makes a good time. It can get in the way of what should be a relaxed and enjoyable part of your workday. There are many fun happy hour ideas that don’t involve alcohol at all.

An average American spends $3,000 annually on after-work drinks. People often feel they need alcohol to loosen up or have fun at work events, but this isn’t true. Happy hours are meant to be fun and relaxed, so no one will judge you if you don’t drink or if your beverage preference isn’t beer or wine. It’s okay for everyone at the happy hour, just not drinking.

If people are drinking anyway, ensure a designated driver is available for those who can’t drive home after a night out with coworkers (and offer them rides).

Don’t Charge People for the Event

If you charge for the event, you make people feel like it’s more of an obligation than something fun to do. Besides, happy hours are already so inexpensive that charging for them is unnecessary. It’s not a money-making opportunity. The point is to have fun with your coworkers and build team spirit.

If you’re hosting an office happy hour and want it to be successful, avoid charging anything. People will still buy their food and drinks if they wish, but if they think someone else is paying for everything, then there’s no need for them to feel obligated or like they’re spending too much money on something frivolous.

Make Sure It’s During the Work Day

The point of a happy hour is to relax, have fun, and let off steam with your coworkers. But if you get too drunk during the event, you’ll be unable to enjoy yourself or participate in team bonding activities. Research reveals that an average employee is productive for less than three hours daily. You can change this by making your employees feel happier at work during a work day.

To avoid this problem, ensure the happy hour is during the work day. If that doesn’t work out for whatever reason (for example, if you’re getting reimbursed), plan an after-work event so that it’s not too late when everyone leaves their office.

Think About Whether Everyone Will Have Fun

You’re going to look down at the list of attendees, and some people will be there that you thought were going to say yes. But they didn’t. And it hurts a little bit more than it should because they aren’t there, and now you have to wonder if they’re having fun without you.

The key here is planning events based on who’s working for your company right now, not who was once on your team or who used to be part of an office happy hour in years. The first thing to do when considering an office happy hour is to ask yourself, Are these people interested? Is this something that would work for them? If not, why are we doing this?

Don’t Schedule Too Many Happy Hours During the Month

Planning too many happy hours in a month can make employees feel like they’re being taken advantage of, especially if you’re scheduling them on weekdays. If you have one or two happy hours scheduled per month, that’s great. But if you plan to have more than three or four of them throughout the year, it could hurt morale by making your employees feel like they never get a break.

The same goes for scheduling multiple happy hours on the same day. You might be tempted to put them all in one place and time so that people can go from one event to another without having to drive home first, but this is also not advised. A whole night out is stressful enough. Adding in more networking events adds more pressure on your team members who are trying hard just trying not to miss work entirely due to alcohol consumption.

Happy Hours Are a Lot of Fun, but They Aren’t for Everybody

According to research, 17% of employees in the US are actively disengaged from their work. Happy hours are a great way to get to know your coworkers, but they aren’t for everybody.

Some people don’t enjoy socializing outside of their comfort zone, so making sure everyone feels welcome at your happy hour is essential. A fun and relaxed atmosphere is crucial when planning an office happy hour because you don’t want anyone to feel left out or uncomfortable.

If someone isn’t having fun at the party, it could ruin the experience for everyone else too! For everyone in the office (or even just one person), not having fun impacts how much fun other people are having too.


The bottom line is that if you’re planning an office happy hour, you have to ensure that everyone attending the event will have a good time. You can do this by providing a relaxed, inviting, and fun atmosphere!