Beer Cart Fridays can be a great tool to entice new employees and make your current employees happy. Companies who have instituted Beer Cart Fridays often rave about the casual social atmosphere that brings employees together and helps to foster fresh new ideas. However, the practice is not without its faults.
“It’s one of those classic situations where everything is great until something happens,” Chris Thomlinson, an employment lawyer in Toronto, told The Globe and Mail. Serving alcohol within the workplace can open a legal can of worms, by possibly putting your employees in harm’s way behind the wheel of a car, or encouraging looser conversations which could result in sexual harassment.
Thankfully, there are other unique and fun things you can do in and out of the office to keep your employees excited about work and to develop a stronger sense of community.
Free food and beverage days
Instead of a cart full of beer and wine once a week, opt for other fun drinks or snacks such as root beer floats or gourmet pretzels. Get lunch catered once a month, and let different employees choose where to try an array of different cuisines and restaurants. Better yet, invite local food trucks or ice cream trucks during nice weather as a way for your employees to share a meal outdoors for some fresh air and camaraderie, while supporting local businesses.
During the summer, many companies are now instituting ways for employees to bank hours, allowing them to have three-day weekends or half days on Fridays. This often has a very minimal impact on company productivity, but can greatly increase employee satisfaction, giving them a chance to further enjoy summer days and weekends. You might also find that employees often use this extra time to meet up outside of work.
Bring your pet to work
Companies such as Airbnb host days where workers are allowed to bring their furry friends into the office. Pets can often help reduce stress and anxiety, and is a fun way to add some smiles to your day. You can also reach out to local pet shelters to bring in animals available for adoption to play with – you never know if one of your employees decides to take one home!
Sitting behind a desk all day can be a detriment to the health of your employees, but exercising regularly can reverse some of the effects while reducing stress and improving mood. You can encourage employees to work out on their own before or after work by offering to subsidize gym memberships, but free exercise classes in the middle of the work day can help boost energy levels throughout the afternoon – when most people reach for the coffee mug. Consider offering classes like yoga or meditation sessions, or more strenuous and heart pumping workouts. By getting people’s blood moving, your employees will be much more productive than they would sipping an alcoholic beverage on a Friday afternoon.
Poor sitting posture in desk chairs can cause unneeded stress on people’s spines, but a nice massage can do wonders. Invite a local masseuse to the office – many are often willing to work for less expensive rates in exchange for the exposure and advertising.
Start up an inter-company sports league for some healthy competition between departments, and a great way for people to get to know other employees throughout the company. By getting the office to head to the basketball court or a softball field after the end of the day, you’ll be working on team building on a regular basis and having some active fun at the same time.
Bring in local artists to play during the lunch break and turn the cafeteria into a coffeehouse. There’s nothing like a bit of live music to make a meal more enjoyable. Consider asking employees to showcase their own musical talents, and everyone might get to know each other’s passions a bit more.
You’re never too old to learn a new skill, and companies can take advantage of fun local classes like macaroon baking or salsa dancing. With these types of activities, employees work together to learn how to do something new, which often helps make them closer as friends and colleagues. You could, however, also go the motivational route; companies such as Yahoo! often bring in speakers for pep talks and presentations on interesting topics.
With a bit of imagination, you can do away with drinking in the office and bring people together in other ways that foster just as much creativity and freshness as Beer Cart Friday.