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7 ideas for alcohol free team socials

Alcohol has historically had a place in workplace culture, whether that’s entertaining clients or socialising within the team. However, in recent years, companies have become more mindful of the issues that arise due to alcohol consumption during social work events.

One in five employees feel pressured to consume alcohol at work events, with experts saying the pressure to ‘fit in’ and build a rapport with their bosses are the main drivers of the issue. That could mean roughly seven million British employees regularly drinking, despite not wanting to.

Alcohol-free work social events are also vital as part of diversity strategies that respect cultural choices and personal preference. 32% of people said they had avoided work social events due to the expectation to drink alcohol, with almost half of Gen Z workers opting out entirely to avoid drinking pressure.

That’s why it’s important for businesses to take the focus away from drinking and put the spotlight back onto the event itself, that can encourage connecting and building relationships within the team – without alcohol. 

To ensure inclusivity, and promote healthy fun, here are several alcohol-free ideas for work socials.

1. Your favourite events, gamified

Whether it’s an escape room experience to test the team’s out-of-the-box thinking, or something fun like go-karting or gaming consoles, these gamified socials can help with team building, and ignite the competitive spirit.

These more energetic socials are perfect by nature, since they make alcohol consumption impractical and instead replace the need for something feel-good with a hit of endorphins.

2. The board game experience

Perfect for problem solvers and likely to appeal to diverse personality types, playing board games goes just as well alcohol-free as it does when drinks are included. Given the array of multi-participant games on the market, if appetite is strong for this sort of social, you could also create a calendar of forthcoming game evenings.

This can be a real comfort to colleagues in its promise of something to look forward to every week, fortnight or month, and encourage healthy competition within the team.

3. Sharing interests and skills

Activities of joined interests provide an opportunity for everyone to participate and feel comfortable, regardless of their personal preferences or circumstances.

Engaging in shared hobbies, such as baking, pottery, painting or crafts not only promotes a sense of camaraderie and connection among colleagues but also ensures that everyone can fully participate and enjoy themselves. It's a fantastic way to create an inclusive space where individuals can bond, have fun, and showcase their unique talents and abilities.

4. Team challenges

Make it a team-wide activity to motivate each through a challenge. It may be a run, walking a bit further every day, tackling a complex recipe or starting a book club. This encourages healthy competition too!

Keeping people checking in on one another in this more targeted and intimate way is hugely social and conducive to better mental wellbeing, and can also lead to mindful connections.

5. Learning during lunch

Leaving the office during the day or finding a date that works for the whole team after hours can be difficult. Learning during lunch can be an easy way for employees to socialise during a fun activity.

WeWork are known for their during-lunch workshops where they offer language learning, arts and craft workshops or talks. It inspires employees with similar interests to join a workshop together, and encourages them to step away from their screens.

6. Volunteering

Volunteering represents a very different type of workplace social; enabling team members to give something back whilst exploring their own interests, whether alone or in small groups.

This activity can get people into the great outdoors, encourage interaction and truly give something back. Enquire about community tidy ups and food runs for the more vulnerable. 

All of these options are designed to facilitate the feel-good factor; an important component of looking after everyone’s mental wellbeing at work!

7. Storytelling and problem sharing

This is one that shouldn’t be underestimated: inviting everyone to speak in turn about a given topic or their best and worst moment of the week can be a real conversation starter. It can also change colleagues’ perceptions of one another for the better. What’s missing in so many video calls during the working day is that deeper level of interaction, which we can take for granted in a face-to-face scenario. In creating the space and time to reflect on each other’s accounts of their daily lives, you can re-introduce the vital component of meaningful and purposeful communication between your team.

Browse our other articles for ideas and tips on how to build work culture that feels like familyincreasing employee job satisfaction and much more. You can also find out how to keep your workforce happy and healthy by signing up to our employee engagement newsletter.

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