A great office party can work wonders in boosting team morale and encouraging team building amongst employees.
While there’s nothing wrong with hanging a few decorations and getting some snacks to enjoy in the office, it’s worth taking some time to find some dynamic games and activities that can be done to encourage bonding and relaxation.
Depending on what you’re celebrating (birthdays, promotions, summer holidays), there are plenty of themes to choose from. Here are 35 awesome party ideas to help you throw a successful office party.
1. Game Day (includes Office party Bingo)
It’s hard to go wrong with a game day. Easily accessible and enjoyable, set up a game schedule followed by an informal gathering where you can let the fun and excitement of playing games carry over into the party.
If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of classic party games that will unite people and work well with small to medium-sized teams.
- Office party Bingo. This is work-related but fun! You can print out bingo cards online or create them. The objective is to get an entire row of tiles before anyone else, but unlike regular Bingo, where the tiles have numbers, Office Bingo has trivia. Team members check off anything related to them, like having a dog or working in customer service.
- Pictionary. Perfect for teams, split employees into two small groups that will play against each other. When it comes time for a team's turn, they will pick someone to draw pictures. Typically, you have one minute to guess correctly. You need cards that assign topics and actions that will prompt the drawing. Hopefully, it will become a staple office party game for years!
- Charades. Like Pictionary, Charades is easy to play and requires a team effort. Best played with two teams, each group has to guess a phrase based on the pantomime their chosen team member is acting out.
- Twenty questions. This game is great for smaller teams, as it can be done with just two people or small groups of two. One person thinks of something, an object, or a person, while the other gets twenty chances (questions) to determine the answer.
- Two truths and one lie. This group game requires players to sit in a circle, each saying three statements about themselves. Two are true, and one is a lie. After each turn, the other group members must guess which is a lie. The person who correctly identifies the most lies is the winner.
While plenty of games can be played in the office, these encourage engagement and coworkers to get to know each other better.
2. Fancy dress cocktails
Fancy dress can be anything from putting on your most dapper suit to dressing up as a character from your favorite film or tv show. If you choose a theme, like a Cowboy party, you can take it further and cater snacks and drinks based on the theme. Grab those cowboy hats and fire up the grill for an unforgettable office party.
3. Murder Mystery
Choosing to do the Murder Mystery party combines the best part of playing games and dressing up. This can be played by making up your plot or buying a game kit that gives you all the gory details. Once you’ve decided how you will run the game, send detailed descriptions to each attendee, telling them who their character is so they can dress and act accordingly. Once everyone has arrived, the leader explains how the night will go; partygoers are encouraged to interact. At this point, there will be a murder and a mystery to solve!
The host will present evidence and clues to help attendees figure out the murder mystery, with the winner figuring it out!
4. Volunteers day party
Get to know your team better by doing something good together. Volunteering is good for physical and mental health, which is already great, and even better with others.
Make a list of local charities or upcoming events, and work with your team to figure out which one you want to do, which could be anything from preparing meals together for the houseless to planting trees in a local park.
Go for a meal or back to the office for hors d'oeuvres and drinks.
5. Award ceremony celebration
Having a cocktail party at the office is even better if it’s followed by celebrating the achievements of your coworkers. If you are a team leader, consider ways to honor your team, even if it’s an informal title like “best dressed.”
Come up with a fun list of awards for each office member, and for prizes, you can go completely DIY and make something for everyone, or you can provide gift cards or extra hours of PTO as awards.
6. Brunch party
Most parties at the office start at the end of the work day, but why not shake things up and take the team out for brunch? After a meal, you probably don’t want to sit back down at your laptop, so get inspired by some of the games we already mentioned and play a few games to wrap up the day.
7. Movie Night
Take a poll and find out what movies your team is interested in seeing so you can plan a movie night or afternoon, complete with popcorn and relaxation. If you can access a projector, this event can be done at the office.
Those with virtual teams, or even hybrid, can include team members who can’t be there in person to watch online.
8. A photobooth gala
Renting out a photo booth is a great party idea, as rental places often offer props and costumes that can be part of the extravaganza. If you can’t get costumes, get the team together to make some props to play with and encourage everyone to dress up.
After everyone has taken their picture, gather for some snacks and drinks and show each other your snaps.
9. Cultural activities day
There are a couple of ways to run a successful cultural activities day. One is getting the whole team together to spend a day at a museum or outdoor concert. Depending on where you live and the conditions, this should be easy to plan with just a simple pole amongst the team.
If you are in a remote area or it’s the middle of winter, consider hosting a cultural activities day in the office and encouraging team members to bring in something related to where they come from, or that represents their heritage. This could be a traditional meal or type of dress. Another way to make a day of it is to encourage everyone to bring in a refreshment to share and make it a communal gathering.
10. Open office/studio party
If you run your company out of a coworking space or are designing something that can be displayed to the public, like an app or specific type of hardware, having an open office party is a great way to bring the team together with the public.
Work with your employees to plan what you want to present or show off to the public and then extend invitations to friends and family. The more, the merrier!
11. Spring clean fest
Okay, this may sound like you’re tricking your employees into cleaning up the office for you and calling it a party. In a way, that is what’s happening, but a Spring Cleaning party can be fun.
Plan to end the work day early and allow everyone to clean off their workstations or a public space like a relaxation zone or kitchen. Designate a couple of hours to clean casually, and at the end, provide drinks and snacks for a well-earned social hour.
12. Good ol’ fashion Potluck
Whip up your favorite dish and bring it to work for a late lunch or early workday potluck. While not everyone in the office will love cooking, which is why there is no hard rule about buying what you bring to the potluck; just make sure everyone has an assigned type of food so you don’t end up with one plate of cookies and five salads.
13. Casino Night
Casino night might be different from what you think it is. Rather than bringing the team to a casino where they will probably lose all their hard-earned cash, this office party combines fancy dress, creativity, and fun.
If you’re trying to stay within a tight budget, this can be done in the office, but if you have some money to spend on company activities and have a bigger team, renting a venue might be the way to go. A venue comes with the added perks of extra seating, a bar, and a restaurant area.
Encourage employees to get glamorous and hand out invitations so they feel they are invited to something special. Pick a handful of classic games like Poker and Blackjack, and if possible, get a team member who knows how to deal cards or hire some professionals for the night!
14. BBQ Office party
If you’re one of the lucky ones and have outdoor space at your office, consider investing in a grill. Bring some burgers and vegetables to the grill when the weather gets warm and host a BBQ day.
If you don’t have access to outdoor space on site, seek a place to host an afternoon grill party, like a park or campground.
15. Beach Day
Unfortunately, not every company will be in close proximity to the ocean, but if you happen to be near the seaside, definitely plan an office beach day. For bigger teams, rent out a large van or vehicle to provide transport, and remember to bring beach chairs, umbrellas, and games to play if people want.
For landlocked or living too far from the beach, planning an off-site company retreat to the ocean should be high on the list for your next retreat.
16. Desk Decorating party
Throwing a desk decorating party is the ideal low-budget but highly creative event. Provide the materials, like paint, markers, cardboard, and other decorations, for your team to choose when decorating their desks.
If you want to get a little competitive (friendly, of course!), select a couple of team members to judge the final results, offering prizes to the top three winners. A prize could be anything from a homemade medal to a gift card to a local coffee shop.
17. Virtual Party
It’s important to mention virtual options since so many teams are working remotely! While many companies are now finding ways to host retreats to ensure that team members spend time together at least once a year, many use virtual parties to stay connected.
Most games played at an in the person-game night can be translated into an online version.
Check out our comprehensive virtual team-building activities that can be used at your next online office shindig.
18. Game show night
Like the Casino party, this themed get-together encourages employees to get in costume and enter a new world. First, pick the time of the show you want to host, whether trivia or a quiz show. If you can rent out a venue or have extra space, set up a temporary stage for the host and split your team into groups so they can play against each other.
19. Scavenger Hunt
A great game to play during the day that can be topped off by an informal cocktail hour. Many companies work with an outside business that will help them set up the scavenger hunt. It doesn’t matter if you live in a major city or a smaller rural area; a scavenger hunt encourages teamwork and fun!
20. Kit party!
Putting together a party kit, especially a reusable one, can be a staple in office parties for years. Your party kit should include the following to ensure you have everything you need for a preplanned get-together or a spontaneous after-work meetup. These kits can be used for any type of get-together, whether Spirit Week, Friday cocktails, or birthdays.
- Table cloth
- Forks and knives
The party kit can also include themed elements, like costumes, for any fancy dress party you want to integrate into your office gatherings.
21. Cooking class
A cooking class is a great way to get employees together, as this type of event caters to people who love to cook and those who generally prefer to eat out. This type of party takes little effort to plan as you will typically hire an outside entity to teach the class, and afterward, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor and have a great meal together.
22. Escape room
Escape rooms have become popular in recent years, making them more common in smaller cities. Based on teamwork and problem-solving, employees team up and get the chance to problem-solve outside of the workplace, which is just as important as professional development.
After you complete your Escape room (hopefully successfully!), take your employees out for a nice dinner and wrap up the evening with some good conversation and laughs.
23. Holiday themed bash
Throwing an office party during the holidays is a great way to ensure you integrate regular relaxation with work. Ask your team to help you pick a few of your favorite times of the year, whether Halloween, Hanukkah, Christmas or whatever your coworkers celebrate. Create a party kit for each holiday, complete with decorations and games, and make celebration and relaxation part of your company policy.
24. Classic Happy Hour
Hosting an office happy hour with cocktails, soft drinks, and snacks is an easy way to show employees that you value their hard work. Easy to plan on a budget, make it an early Friday, dim the lights, and turn up the music to send employees off into the weekend in good spirits.
25. Bring your pet to work party
There are likely a few people who work in your office who have pets, and if you are working in a pet-friendly environment, you’ve probably met their furry friends already.
For companies with access to outdoor space, plan a BBQ or picnic and encourage workers to bring their pets to work for the day. For virtual teams, hop on Zoom and enjoy a coffee or drink together while letting employees introduce their pets to the team from their home office.
26. An office talent show
Encourage your team to show off their talents by hosting a talent show! A talent show allows employees to get to know each other better by learning more about each other’s passions, whether playing the guitar or juggling.
At the end of the show, gather for refreshments, and the talent after party, where employees can enjoy each other’s company, and who knows, maybe the talent show will inspire an office rock band.
Even people who dislike singing can enjoy Karaoke; just ensure you don’t pressure anyone to get on stage! Let those outgoing coworkers belt their hearts out to their favorite songs while the rest of the team chats amongst themselves or sings along.
Karaoke is a great way to end a long work week, calling it an early Friday and stepping into rockstar mode for the weekend.
28. Office Olympics party
We recently posted a piece on how to throw the best Office Olympics ever! Perfect for any season, the Office Olympics can be done completely DIY, or you can rent out a space for the day where you will host games ranging from relay races to trivia competitions and more.
Remember not to skip out on the award ceremony at the end, where you can celebrate the winners and gather for drinks and snacks.
29. Day out party
Take a tour of your city and make a day out of it that will be followed by a fun get-together, either back at the office or somewhere on your city tour. This can be a fun activity, even for local employees, as there is likely somewhere they haven’t seen before, bringing them closer to their home.
Depending on the time of year or country, you can choose a more niche outing, like a Ghost tour on Halloween or a Christmas market tour during the months of learning up to the holidays.
30. Sports party
There are two ways to host a sports party. One, you can go out to the pub to watch a game or book some outdoor space for the whole team to get together and play a pickup game of soccer, football, or whatever sport works best for your team size.
For smaller teams, two-person games like badminton are a great choice, in addition to more relaxed games like bocce ball or croquet.
31. Weekend getaway party
While off-site company retreats are an excellent way to bond with your team, dedicating at least a week to working together somewhere new, you might only sometimes have that much time to spare.
Plan an off-site getaway, which could be anything from camping, a beachside retreat, or something more casual, to allow employees to relax while getting to know one another.
32. Get some fresh air
Spending time in the great outdoors is conducive to better concentration and is known to have substantial mental health benefits.
Go for a relaxing hike with the team and stop for lunch afterward. If you are based on the seaside, host an afternoon boat party and enjoy local seafood and drinks while enjoying the ocean breeze.
33. Paint party
Like escape rooms, paint nights have become commonplace, inviting adults to come and enjoy making art in a group. Rent a space with a professional instructor and get the whole team together to create a masterpiece.
Often, paint nights come with refreshments, so plan for a half day and enjoy a light dinner with the team before you get the creative juices flowing.
Don’t forget the importance of an off-site retreat
Throwing an office party is an ideal way to let your employees relax and spend time together outside of work. Parties can be done regularly in tandem with company retreats, which is the most effective way to strengthen bonds and boost productivity. For booking your next retreat, the Surf Office can help you work out the logistics and ensure a company retreat that meets your unique needs.