(Photo courtesy of socialmonsters.org)
Happy hour has its roots in naval history. After the days of World War I, sailors received one hour each day for personal activities, and many would play games that boosted morale, according to Mental Floss. Both the servicemen and the military got something out of the deal.
The term has since come to mean cheap drinks in the early evening, but the same benefits of boosting morale for employees and employers still apply. Since Oregon is quickly becoming the national capital of craft beer, it’s no surprise that happy hour culture has grown into more of an institution in the state than ever.
Smart companies are making happy hours work for them. If you want a more productive workforce, keep them content by organizing regular social events to bring employees closer together. Just don’t push it too far. You have to be careful that you don’t create an all-play-and-no-work environment. Make sure everyone knows that a work-sponsored outing doesn’t stop being professional just because you’re out of the office and a few drinks are present. By following a few simple rules, every event can go off without a hitch.
Hire a Server
Although it may be cheaper to throw a cooler on the ground and set up a table of liquor, somebody will inevitably over-indulge when serving him or herself. Instead, pony up the small cost to hire a bartender or go to a venue that already has one.
There is a cocktail renaissance going on across the nation as seen by the popularity of shows like “Mad Men,” so jumping onboard with this trend is a great way to turn a boring social gathering into a memorable evening on the town. Plus, you can ask your bartender to make you classics like a martini or old fashioned and not be worried about how much alcohol Joe from marketing put in.
Be Inclusive but not Pushy
The goal of hosting a happy hour for employees is to get workers to interact, bond and become better team members. So, you should encourage all departments to attend and have fun.
But don’t make people feel like they have to go. Every office has some introverts who may feel overwhelmed or alienated if they are singled out for not attending a voluntary event. In addition, you need to make sure there are alternatives or ways to decline if some of your employees don’t drink or have alcohol-related issues. For many, a few hours at a bar is a great way to bond and blow off steam. But for others, it is an uncomfortable experience or unwanted temptation, so be sensitive to all types.
Remember This Is Still Work
Both employers and employees should stay on their best behavior. This is still a work event, so you don’t want anyone to get sloppy. Don’t be afraid to have a great time, let your hair down, open up (some) and make new friends. Just don’t start ordering tequila shots for your whole team or trying to see if you can out drink your boss.
The best bet: Stick to a couple good, local craft beers. Save the whiskey and vodka for another day, and just enjoy the best Oregon has to offer.