It’s Time To Ditch The Corporate Happy Hour

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It's Time To Ditch The Corporate Happy Hour

If you ask the internet, “Why do companies host corporate happy hours?” you’ll find excerpts claiming that happy hours can improve collaboration, engagement, and productivity. You’ll find articles stating that they are tools for team-building and building company culture. In my experience, however, after ten years in corporate environments and many happy hours in the workplace, I object!

The Reality of Corporate Happy Hours

For me, workplace happy hours were often breeding grounds for juicy gossip and awkward attempts at socializing on my part. Early in my career, I remember feeling excited at the prospect of free drinks and appetizers on my company’s tab.

 Cheers - It's Time To Ditch The Corporate Happy Hour

I couldn’t, however, remember feeling closer with my teammates or more engaged post-happy hour. Quite the opposite. With that in mind and the growing alcohol-free trend, I was curious if others felt the same way I did. I contacted family members from different industries and roles and asked their thoughts.

Insights from Different Industries

Healthcare Business Owner: “They (workplace happy hours) are toxic. So much drama and gossip comes about with people drinking. I’ve known of people who’ve been fired because of things they did while intoxicated at one of these events.”

Hospital Director: “I always feel pressured to go. People don’t mingle with new people; they stick to their cliques. I stay long enough to make an appearance and go.”

Architect: “I think I liked them more when I was younger, but now that I am a parent, I don’t participate as much. And I feel guilty missing them because I don’t want my teammates to think I am not as invested in my work as they are.”

Surprisingly, of all the folks I spoke with, no one was taking the corporate happy hour side. How could this be? If employees don’t like it, why is it the primary “team-building” tool so many companies cling to? Why do they remain so firmly ingrained in corporate culture?

The Challenges of Workplace Engagement

The truth is that addressing workplace collaboration, engagement, team-building, company culture, etc., isn’t easy. Even for the best instructional designers, it’s impossible to do so via a learning management system.

Building internal skills and behaviors is hard enough, and improving what’s been broken is even more challenging. Doing so in our new hybrid/remote environment adds even greater complexity to the challenge. So, companies know the importance of building and maintaining a healthy team culture and still cling to the one tool they know.

A New Approach to Team-Building

So, if employee drinking is no longer the way to go, what can be done to build and improve company engagement, culture, team-building, communication, etc.? I am excited to say that I have a shiny new and inclusive tool to recommend. It’s WitWorks.

improve show -  It's Time To Ditch The Corporate Happy Hour

With WitWorks, you don’t have to gamble on “social lubricant” to get folks talking. We work with clients to understand what challenges they want to address, and we bring fun exercises and games to address them.

We lead the activities and exercises, so no one has to worry about awkward conversation starters or maintaining dialogue. We also set the expectation for the workshop tone, so no one has to worry about toeing the line between professionalism and casualness.

We provide an inclusive workshop so teammates can transcend the “clique frontiers.” We continuously see social barriers come down, and meaningful connections are made.

Keep your happy hours if they work for your team, but we challenge you to consider whether they are doing what you want them to do for your team. If you’re looking for more, consider a new approach! Cheers to having the courage and agility to find new tools when the old ones stop working. Cheers to WitWorks!

Experience the WitWorks Difference

WitWorks Logo - It's Time To Ditch The Corporate Happy Hour

At WitWorks, we focus on human connection and build custom workshops to create shared learning experiences that spark joy. You’ll watch your team transform in real-time through improv-inspired games and exercises. And you’ll also find that they talk about their experience long after the workshop ends.

That’s the WitWorks experience—corporate improv training that doesn’t just stick; it works. Ready to learn more about how WitWorks can positively impact your business? Check out our website and schedule a free consultation!

It's Time to Ditch the Corporate Happy Hour

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