Alcohol has always had a shaky relationship with the office. While workplace parties are a great way for team bonding, rewarding hardworking employees, and getting to know each other outside of the 9-to-5, involving alcohol can create some tricky situations.
Things can get, at best, a little awkward if someone indulges a little too much, and worse, things can veer into inappropriate territory. Accidents are more common when employees have been drinking alcohol, and companies should be concerned about both safety and liability. As a manager organizing these events, you risk alienating employees who do not drink or have a history of alcoholism. So is it possible to foster an organizational culture of camaraderie without alcohol?
The great news is that work social activities do not have to center around — or even include — alcohol. There are five great workplace “party” ideas in particular that leave alcohol behind.
1. Amusement Park
It worked in grade school, and it can work just as well in the workplace. Let your employees screech on roller coasters, get out a little frustration on the bumper cars, go competitive at the carnival games, and relive their childhood on the merry-go-round.
People tend to bond over adrenaline-pumping activities, and a day trip to the amusement park during office hours — preferably when kids are in school and not crowding the park — can be an exhilarating, laughter-filled, fun time for employees in all different age brackets.
2. Laser Tag
Creative employers are putting team building in with workplace parties and bringing their teams to play laser tag. Pit sales against editorial or boys against girls or have employees pick their own partners, and let everyone run loose for a day of nostalgic fun in a laser tag arena. It’s paintball without the liability and safety risks.
While not a “party” per se, a great workplace activity is to get out and get dirty volunteering for a local cause that aligns with your company values. Spend the day with hammers and nails building houses for a local Habitat for Humanity chapter, play some games with a nearby boys and girls club, or plant trees for a neighborhood park. It can boost employee morale and team spirit while still being a fun day out in the sun for cooped-up staff.
4. Wii Games Day
Some companies have softball or basketball teams, but to keep a level playing field, Wii games can ensure everyone has the skills to take part in the fun. Decorate a large conference room in your office and set up a couple Wii machines to have employees battle each other and work together to sing in a rock band, Smash against each other, or drive virtual cars with the video games. Make sure there are couches and other places to comfortably sit, have everyone dress casually, and treat to pizza.
5. F1 Racing
Remember that whole adrenaline thing? Take it a step up by going to an F1 Racing or go-karting track. It’s something many employees probably wouldn’t think to do on their own, so it’s a new opportunity you’re offering them. It’s fun, minimally competitive, and can offer a boost in energy and high spirts.
Work activities don’t always have to mean beer and wine. Think outside the box for more creative office parties that will have your employees talking.