Getting tipsy with your coworkers used to be a relatively rare event. Sure, the company holiday party always got a little rowdy—but apart from that and a couple after-work beer outings, your interactions with your colleagues were 100% sober.
But nowadays, a ton of companies host weekly happy hours. Like free lunches and mentorship programs, happy hours have become another way for organizations to make their employees satisfied and attract new talent.
So, should your office have a happy hour? Check out the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Pro: Employee Bonding
By giving your employees the chance to kick back, laugh, and talk, you’ll make it way easier for them to form office friendships. And the more your team members like and know each other, the better they’ll work together.
Plus, people who get along with their coworkers are far likelier to stay at their jobs. According to LinkedIn, 46% of professionals say having work friends is important to their overall happiness. Furthermore, a Virgin Pulse survey found that 40% of people love their company because of their coworkers.
Con: Potential Alienation
However, holding office happy hours could also make some employees feel left out. One in three Americans never drink—which means they might not enjoy going to an event that revolves around drinking.
While some people are fine showing up and grabbing a soda, others may choose not to attend. And those abstainers probably won’t be too happy about your boozy culture.
Pro: Recruiting Tool
If you want to appeal to young job seekers, incorporating happy hours into the social calendar is a great way to do it.
Millennials love unique, fun job perks. Plus, happy hour is fairly inexpensive compared to other modern “extras,” like on-site workout classes or free dry cleaning.
And best of all: By offering happy hour, you’ll associate yourself with hip, highly sought-after employers like Yelp and Eventbrite.
Depending on whether or not employees are expected to attend, you may be responsible for anything bad that happens to them while they’re drinking on your dime.
For example, if a member of your staff has an accident while driving home from the office happy hour, and he’s legally intoxicated, your company could be liable.
To avoid this, hold your happy hours after regular work hours (which shows that employee attendance isn’t mandatory). If you really want to play it safe, do happy hour at a separate location.
Interested in more strategies for building a community at your company? Check out our ideas!
About the Author
Aja Frost is a freelance writer who covers career, lifestyle, current events, and social justice. Say hi to her on Twitter.
Tags: company culture, drinking culture, employee bonding