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17 Social event ideas for work to plan in your calendar

Published:

February 19, 2024

Updated:

February 19, 2024

Oh, you lucky people! You might have just found the best list of social event ideas for work! You know work relationships go beyond the daily grind. And that social events play a pivotal role in this. They offer everyone a chance to step away from their desks and engage with their colleagues in a more relaxed setting. Whether it’s an on-site celebration or an off-site adventure, these gatherings are crucial for fostering team spirit, enhancing workplace connection, and boosting overall employee satisfaction.

By integrating a variety of social events into your organizational calendar, you’re not just planning fun activities, you’re investing in the heart of your corporate culture. From celebrating milestones to simply enjoying a pet-at-the-office day, each experience is an opportunity to strengthen bonds and create a sense of belonging among your staff. 

In this guide,  discover 17 creative company event ideas for employees that can be used for both on-site and off-site occasions. These ideas are designed to enhance your workplace environment and make people excited about coming to work. 

9 Social event ideas for work you should plan to host

1. Celebrate company anniversaries all together

Celebrating company anniversaries is a powerful way to reflect on your journey and acknowledge all the people who’ve contributed to its success. Whether it’s your first year or your fiftieth, organizing a celebration brings everyone together to share in achievements and milestones. Consider themed decorations that show your business’s culture, catered food that your employees love, and perhaps a video montage of memorable moments through the years. 

The goal is more than throwing a party, it’s also to promote unity and appreciation. This event is a reminder of the company’s evolution and the collective effort that has driven its progress. It brings a deeper connection between team members and the organization itself.

2. Mark big milestones with your team

Milestones are significant achievements that deserve recognition. Whether it’s surpassing a sales target, launching a new product, or celebrating a major company anniversary, marking these occasions with your team reinforces their importance. Organize an event that allows everyone to pause, take a step back, acknowledge, and honor these accomplishments.

It could be as simple as an afternoon off with a catered lunch in the office or a more elaborate party at a local venue. Create lasting memories and express gratitude for the effort and commitment that contributed to these victories. Honoring milestones boosts morale and motivates employees for future challenges and successes.

3. Host an annual award night

Annual award nights are a marvelous opportunity to celebrate individual and team accomplishments over the past year. Recognizing outstanding contributions motivates employees and fosters a culture of appreciation. Make the occasion special with personalized awards, a formal dinner, and speeches highlighting each participant’s achievements. 

Consider categories that align with your company’s values, such as innovation, leadership, and teamwork. Beyond recognition, this event encompasses more. It also serves as a platform for workers to network with one another, build stronger relationships, and learn from each other. Finally, this event is an excellent way to show your employees that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

👉 Learn more about the importance of employee recognition!

Office celebration
Office celebration

4. Organize a conference with a host

Conferences aren’t just for external networking. They can be a dynamic platform for internal growth and collaboration, too. Hosting an in-house seminar with a respected host or speaker will inspire your team with fresh ideas and perspectives. Tailor the event to your industry or focus on broader themes like innovation, teamwork, or well-being. You can also ask your team members whom they would like to learn from and topics they would like to discover more about.

This not only provides valuable professional development but also strengthens connections among employees as they engage with the content and each other. Incorporate interactive sessions such as workshops or Q&As to maximize engagement and ensure the event has a lasting impact on your team.

5. Plan a pet-at-the-office day

Bringing pets to the office can add a layer of joy and relaxation to the workday, promoting a sense of well-being and camaraderie among coworkers. Before planning such a day, ensure that no team members have allergies or fears that could make them uncomfortable. Setting guidelines for pet behavior and owner responsibilities is crucial to maintaining a productive work environment. 

Pets often facilitate social interactions, offering a talking point for coworkers who might not usually get engaged, thus enhancing team interactions. Remember, the goal is to create a positive, inclusive experience for everyone, pets included.

6.  Set-up theme office parties

Themed office parties, whether for holidays like Halloween or Christmas or just for fun, like a ’70s disco day, create excitement and positive anticipation in the workplace. These events encourage creativity, from decorations to costumes, and offer a break from the routine. Planning activities or contests related to the theme can further engage employees and foster teamwork. 

Importantly, these parties should be inclusive, ensuring everyone feels comfortable participating. Such experiences build memorable moments and strengthen the social network of your work environment, contributing to a more engaged and cohesive team.

7. Propose after-work happy hours once a week

Regular after-work happy hours are an excellent way to encourage informal interaction among team members. Setting aside time each week, like every Thursday, creates a routine opportunity for employees to relax, unwind, and connect outside the pressures of the workday. These gatherings can take place in a variety of locations, from the office to local spots, which offer a change of scenery. 

The key is consistency and involving everyone, ensuring these events are something the entire company looks forward to. Happy hours serve as a simple yet effective way to enhance group dynamics and workplace connection.

👋 Discover the three core aspects of workplace connection and how it benefits your business!

8. Organize different workshops

Monthly workshops on diverse topics like cooking, wellness, or creative arts offer employees a chance to learn new skills and explore interests beyond their professional roles. These sessions break the monotony of the workweek and foster a culture of continuous learning and personal development. By involving people in choosing themes, you ensure relevant and engaging classes. 

These events can facilitate cross-departmental interaction, breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration. Workshops are a great way to enrich your team’s work-life experience, promoting a more vibrant workplace culture.

9. Organize a hackathon within your company

Hosting an internal hackathon challenges employees to think creatively and work collaboratively under time constraints, driving innovation and team bonding. While traditionally associated with tech companies, hackathons can be adapted to any industry with tasks tailored to your business’s goals. This intensive, event-driven approach to problem-solving and idea generation can uncover surprising results and talents within your team. 

Just like workshops, it’s also an excellent opportunity for cross-functional collaboration as diverse skill sets and perspectives come together. Celebrating the outcomes of the hackathon, regardless of their immediate practical application, emphasizes the value of creativity and teamwork, boosting morale and engagement. This is definitely one of our favorite social event ideas for work!

🎬 Do you want to learn more about our mission and how we can support your hybrid work environment? Discover the features of the deskbird app in less than two minutes in this video!

people eating together at large table birds eye view
Team dinner

8 Company event ideas to do outside of the office

1. Organize a team tournament

Bringing your group together for a tournament outside the office can be a thrilling way to foster team spirit and healthy competition. Choose activities that resonate with everyone’s interests, whether it’s a sports event, a board game marathon, or a trivia contest. 

Planning such tournaments in a local park or a recreational center not only offers a change of scenery but also encourages teamwork in a fun, relaxed environment. It’s a fantastic opportunity for employees to showcase talents that don’t come to light in the office, strengthening bonds and creating lasting memories.

2. Plan a company retreat with your team

A company retreat is an invaluable investment in your team’s cohesion and morale. Stepping away from the daily office environment to a location where employees can relax, engage in team-building activities, and strategize about the future can significantly boost creativity and alignment. 

Make sure the event matches everyone’s interests, whether it’s focused on professional development, relaxation, or a mix of both. You might want to avoid setting up your getaway on an island without Wi-Fi unless you aim to experience a real life game of  “Survivor.” 

🏔️ Discover our amazing company retreat ideas for your employees!

3. One-day off-site with your team

If going for a few days somewhere isn’t an option, what about 24 hours? A one-day off-site provides a focused break from the office routine. It enables your coworkers to have dedicated time for brainstorming, planning, or bonding. Moreover, choosing a venue that inspires innovation, like a creative workspace or a scenic outdoor location, can invigorate your team and foster unity. 

You can use this time for both work-related activities and team-building exercises. The change in environment can lead to breakthrough ideas and deeper connections among coworkers. This proves that a single day can be enough to make a significant difference in group dynamics.

4. Organize a fundraiser

Fundraising as a team for a cause close to your company’s heart is a great way to give back to the community as well as build team spirit. Planning and executing a successful event requires teamwork, creativity, and communication, skills that are invaluable in a work environment. 

Whether it’s a charity run, a bake sale, or an auction, the collective effort to make a positive impact allows your employees to  experience  achievement and teamwork. In the end, it reinforces empathy, generosity, and social responsibility.

5. Attend a cooking class (and treat yourself afterward!)

A cooking class offers a delicious blend of learning, fun, and teamwork outside the usual office setting. “Working” together to prepare a meal under the guidance of a professional chef is a unique way to foster connections and team bonding. The cherry on top, the activity ends with a tasty treat everyone can enjoy while serving as a metaphor for unity and accomplishment sharing.

Moreover, cooking as a group can be a fun and meaningful way to learn about diverse cultures and cuisines. It can also be a great opportunity to connect with people who may have different backgrounds or interests. The shared experience of making food together can create a strong bond of friendship and understanding.

🤼 Check out our 15 team-bonding indoor, outdoor, and online activities!

people standing on a rock
Co-workers on a hike

6. Support the community with your teammates

Volunteering together is a profound way to connect with your colleagues and the community. Whether it’s helping at a local shelter, taking part in a cleanup day, or any other public service, these activities provide a shared sense of purpose and fulfillment. They offer a break from the corporate environment, allowing team members to see each other in a new light and gather for the common good. 

Such experiences can deeply enrich your company culture, emphasizing values like teamwork, compassion, and civic responsibility. Additionally, it can help enhance your public image, as these activities demonstrate the business’s commitment to positively impacting society.

7. Schedule a collective cleanup somewhere

Organizing a collective cleanup day, such as in a local park, beach, or even around the office area, promotes the importance of sustainability in business while offering a team-building opportunity. Such activities not only contribute to a cleaner, greener community but also create a sense of shared achievement and responsibility among coworkers. 

It’s a hands-on way to show your company’s sustainability commitment and encourage employees to work together for a cause beyond the usual business objectives. In the meantime, it enhances team spirit and environmental awareness. A win-win!

8. Go for a hike with your colleagues

One last social event idea we really like and want to share with you: a collective hike. This activity is an excellent way to combine exercise, connection to nature, and team bonding. Being outdoors has also been linked to improved mental health. Plus, physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Choose a trail that matches the fitness level of all participants to ensure an inclusive and enjoyable experience for everyone. 

Hiking allows for informal conversations and shared experiences in a setting away from work stresses, fostering personal connections and mutual respect among colleagues. It’s a refreshing strategy to encourage a healthy lifestyle, appreciate the natural world, and strengthen team cohesion through a shared adventure.

Incorporating a mix of on-site and off-site events for employees into your company’s calendar is great for building a strong, cohesive team that values more than just performance. These 17 social event ideas for work offer diverse opportunities for coworkers to connect, celebrate achievements, and work together in settings that break the everyday routine.

By investing in such activities, you’re not only enhancing employee satisfaction and commitment but also fostering an organizational culture that prioritizes well-being, collaboration, and a sense of belonging. Whether through celebrating milestones, engaging in team-building exercises, or giving back to the community, each event is a step toward a more vibrant, connected, and happy workplace.

Don’t forget to add those gatherings to the company calendar if you’re already using the deskbird app! If you don’t, request a free demo and discover the perks of our user-friendly desk booking software as well as the very important “office event” feature!

17 Social event ideas for work to plan in your calendar

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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