12 Happy Hour Alternatives for Connecting with Co-Workers

There’s more to happy hour than beer and Buffalo wings. It’s a chance to bond with your colleagues and shake off stress before you return to your family in the evening.

Hold onto the advantages of a happy hour without sabotaging your fitness. Try these healthier alternatives for socializing after work or anytime during the week.

After Work Social Activities

The hour after work deserves its popularity as a time to get together. You can decompress after a hectic day at the office. You may even be able to avoid the worst rush hour traffic on your commute home.

  1. Work out. Exercise instead of having a drink. Sign up for group classes at the nearest gym or a local yoga studio. Join a softball league.
  2. Eat cheap. Why wait for your senior years to start saving money with early bird specials? Finish your whole dinner or consider it a first course. You’ll have the rest of the evening free for other enjoyments. You’ll also be less tempted by junk food because you’ll feel full when you arrive home.
  3. Appreciate art. In many cities, museums and other venues stay open late at least one evening each week. Browse through the galleries and discuss the works over a cup of tea in the cafe.

Before Work Social Activities

The decisions you make in the morning set the tone for your day. Plus, early morning sunshine lifts your mood, so share it with others.

  1. Connect with nature. You’ll look forward to waking up early when you see all that nature has to offer. Meet your coworkers in the park while the sun is rising and birds are singing. Take a walk or do Tai Chi together.
  2. Sit and meditate. Support each other in starting a meditation practice. Ask your employer about using the conference room or search for a meditation center in your neighborhood.
  3. Eat breakfast. A nutritious meal will give you energy until lunch. Gather in the break room or the coffee shop in the lobby.

Lunchtime Social Activities

It can be tempting to work through lunch, but taking a break is likely to make you more productive. It may also be the only opportunity to discuss subjects other than business.

  1. Invite speakers. The lunch hour is a great opportunity to hear from speakers on a variety of topics. Pass around a survey to discover what your fellow employees are interested in. They may want to learn more about health insurance or community gardening. Encourage your colleagues to share their own expertise too.
  2. Make crafts. Switch gears by trading in the spreadsheets for felt and scissors. Creative activities may help you to think more innovatively when you return to your desk.
  3. Watch a movie. Take your mind off your clients and vendors with a little entertainment. Show reruns of an old TV program or a funny movie. Split the show into segments to fit your schedule.

Weekend Social Activities

Plan an occasional weekend program. You’ll have more time to spend together, especially if you want to travel out of town.

  1. Hold a weekend retreat. Retreats are a proven way to build teams. Incorporate play time into the agenda along with more serious discussions.
  2. Throw a party. Celebrate company milestones and obscure holidays. Put together a potluck or a wine and cheese buffet.
  3. Train for the future. Let your employer know you’re interested in increasing your value. Attend an outside program or hire your own instructor to teach the staff introductory Spanish or coding.

Happy hour alternatives can enrich your mind and your professional relationships without packing on extra calories. Talk with your employer about promoting healthy initiatives or invite your friends from work to join you for some quality time.

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