We’re against mandatory fun (unless it’s the Weird Al album). But if your office parties and virtual happy hours are more Ron Burgundy’s cannonball than Michael Scott’s Yankee Swap, you might just nail that “workplace culture” LinkedInfluencers won’t stop talking about. Or at least Dave from I.T. will stop calling them mandatory. 

Read on for our tips and trips for planning events that won’t feel like “work.” 

Remember: the planning is worth it. 

Close your eyes, count backwards from something, and picture an office full of employees who are (gasp) happy to be there. Crazy, we know. But if sitcoms have taught us anything, it’s that great outside-work hangouts lead to real friendships. Those relationships make your office a place where employees want to go, and stick around. 

Look at your company’s calendar to pick a date and time most people can make it, or right after a big project, so you don’t have deadlines and spreadsheets killing the vibe. Plan backwards to set yourself some milestones. By the day after your event, it’ll be the talk of the office.  

There’s funny awkward. Then there’s Zoom-meeting-icebreaker awkward.

Hybrid workplaces are here to stay, and we’ve seen some virtual hangouts so uncomfortable, they put your post-breakup grocery store run-in to shame. But come up with creative activities, and you’ll keep your team engaged and entertained. 

“Zoom fatigue is real,” says Kim Hedmark, Drizly’s senior manager for corporate business development. She suggests hosting a mix of in-person and remote events, like “a virtual cocktail-making class, an in-person holiday party with trivia and prizes… or having a sommelier host a wine tasting.” Activities like this eliminate get-to-know-you questions and awkward silences, and your team will love you for that. 

Variety is key. 

If office parties were as simple as throwing in some beer and closing the doors, we wouldn’t be here. But an on-point bar selection takes thought. Don’t listen to the Super Bowl commercials—Drizly for Business data on corporate events shows party-goers are just as likely to pick wine or spirits as they are beer. Plus, in the past year, customer bought around as much white wine as red, and about the same amount of IPAs as lagers.

“Make sure there’s a nice variety so there’s something everyone can enjoy,” Hedmark adds. “Also, providing an equal number of alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverages and displaying them alongside each other will ensure no one feels left out of the celebration.”

Let sidekicks share the spotlight.

Ice is crucial for hockey games, 1990 rap mega-hits, and office parties. According to our data, corporate party planners use more ice than any other extra, so order plenty—and don’t judge Marge for putting it in her Chardonnay. Mixers like club soda and cola aren’t far behind, and as any lunch-rush fast food worker will tell you, hangry people don’t mess around, so it’s a good idea to have plenty of snacks handy too.

Become a shipping wizard.

You wouldn’t ask people to bring their own drinks to a bar. So if your employees are scattered, send them a round or two at home. “Figuring out how to send 100+ bottles of Champagne for a virtual holiday party can be a daunting task,” says Hedmark. “The good news is, our Corporate Concierge team can make this process super simple and headache-free.” 
All you need are address(es) and a budget. We’ll help do the rest. Our Drizly for Business Coporate Concierge team is available any time to help you make it happen.