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Published: June 15, 2021
Last Updated: October 23, 2023
11 min read
By: Michelle Cadieux
Many fun holidays and events happen throughout the year. Get inspired with these workplace event ideas to start building your social calendar.
When was the last time your company threw a social event that wasn't just another "happy hour." In other words, is your business making efforts to cultivate a dynamic social environment?
A diverse calendar of social events is critical if you want to support employee engagement and build an environment of camaraderie, and connection.
Of course, coming up with exciting ideas for social events is the hardest part. And we are here to help!
We've scanned the internet and found a year's worth of events, work-related holidays, and event ideas. These ideas will help you create a dynamic social event calendar.
That said, in this list, we've included all types of events -- from big to small.
For example, events like "fun at work day" or "random act of kindness" day give your company flexibility, so you can decide exactly how you want to celebrate. And other quirky days like "national ice cream day" and "national pizza day" give you an excuse to treat your teams.
Hopefully, this list will help stimulate your imagination and help kick off your social calendar on the right foot.
Celebrate National Trivia Day by hosting a trivia event within your company! Take your event a step further and by giving away small prizes for winning teams.
Take this day to thank your mentors at work. Ask yourself who helped you to become the professional individual you are now and show them how grateful you are for it!
The modern work dress code is already so casual, Sweatpants day is the modern version of casual Fridays. Encourage employees to come to work in their most relaxed attire. Create a little friendly competition and give prizes away for the best laid-back look.
Allow yourself and your team to have some fun at the office for this special occasion. Better still, share the fun on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, and tag Applauz Recognition!
Celebrated on the fourth Monday of January, Better Business Communication Day is an occasion to highlight the importance of communication at work. Have a town hall, launch a conversation at the watercooler, do what you want but keep the communication flow going!
The work pizza party is so common, it has become a bit cliche. But these events are popular for good reason -- everyone loves pizza. On national pizza day, you'll have the perfect excuse to treat your teams to a good slice.
Try a little tenderness… as the song goes. Celebrate Random Act of Kindness Day by offering your colleague their favourite snack, or by helping them complete a task. It’s that simple to make someone’s day!
However proud you are of your achievements, remember you’ve not attained them all by yourself. On Be Humble Day, focus on humbling yourself. Start by restraining yourself from bragging about the fact that you’re celebrating Be Humble Day!
The World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development was launched by UNESCO at its 40th General Conference in 2019. So if your business employs engineers or if your company is in the engineering field, make sure to celebrate all your talented engineers on March 4th!
Celebrated the first Friday of March, Employee Appreciation Day is the best occasion to show employees you appreciate their work and their contributions to your company. The same goes for employees, who should take this opportunity to celebrate with their coworkers.
If women’s day should technically be celebrated every day, it’s a good reminder of what remains to be accomplished in terms of gender equality at work. Like the fact that Canadian women make only 87 cents for every dollar that men earn. Take the time to celebrate all the women who make the workplace a better place!
Celebrated since 2013 in 193 UN Member states, the International Day of Happiness recognizes the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human goal. So let’s make happiness at work happen, too.
Kick-off a health and wellness initiative and encourage employees to walk to work. Of course, this might not be feasible for all, so the option to bike to work on the table as well. Create a little friendly competition and offer prizes for those who complete the challenge!
It’s also April Fool’s Day! Originally called National Fun at Work Day, International Fun at Work Day was created in 1996 to revitalize fun in the workplace. It’s all about having fun at the office, so turn up the volume of the music, play games or plan an office field trip!
A global health awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Health Day was created in 1950 to draw attention to global health. Both mental or physical health is extremely important, and that’s something companies have highlighted over the years. What better than World Health Day to plan a healthy lunch or a gym session at the office?
Observed in countries like the US, Canada or Australia, Administrative Professionals Day recognizes the work and dedication of secretaries, receptionists and administrative assistants, without whom the office would definitely not be the same.
Mental health is just as important as one's physical health. Plan fun activities to bring awareness and prioritize mental health like taking an afternoon off to go on a team hike or hosting an expert panel on important mental health topics.
Many aspiring leaders resort to executive coaches to help them become the fulfilled leaders they want to be. Celebrate Executive Coaching Day by thanking the executive coaches you’ve worked with!
If you work in the health care industry this date should be saved in your calendar. Plan a special celebration or write a letter of appreciation for your hard-working nurses and support staff.
First launched in 1991 in the US, National Receptionist Day was created to foster a recognition of the importance of receptionists at the office. It’s the perfect occasion to celebrate the work and contributions of receptionists who participate in the success of your company every single day.
Staying fit and healthy starts at the office! National Employee Health & Fitness Day is the perfect day to plan healthy snacks and activities and to remind all employees of the importance of health and exercise. Did you know that a British study revealed that more than 50% of employees attributed their weight gain to sitting at their desks all day long? Celebrate this occasion by taking a walk or organizing a fitness session right at the office!
June is Pride Month when the world's LGBTQ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Celebrating Pride is a key step in taking action to build a more inclusive workplace where everyone feels accepted.
Say Something Nice Day is an occasion to say the nice things we too often think but don’t dare to say out loud. Celebrate it by congratulating a coworker on their work, tell your colleagues why you appreciate them, etc.
Launched in 1974 by the United Nations, World Environment Day’s purpose is to raise awareness on environmental issues. Make it a special day at the office by reminding co-workers of the importance of recycling or coming to work by bus instead of taking your car.
Created in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, Take Your Dog to Work Day is a great way to encourage workplaces to allow dogs. And if you want to celebrate it at the office, you know what you gotta do!
Launched in the 1980s in the U.S., National Ice Cream Day is the perfect occasion to bring a taste of summer into the office. Take your employees out for ice cream and spend a memorable moment with your team!
Also known as Sysadmin Day, System Administration Appreciation Day was created in 1999 by system administrator Ted Ketakos. This day is specifically dedicated to those who keep our businesses up and running: our awesome, life-saving sysadmins! Celebrate this particular day by telling them how grateful you are to have them by your side, or even plan an office party for them!
In April 2011, the United Nations declared July 30 as International Friendship Day. And since many friendships are born in the office, it’s essential to celebrate this special event at work. Take the time to celebrate with your friends at work for they definitely make the office a better place.
National Tell a Joke Day is another reason to celebrate fun at the office. Tell a funny joke and make your coworkers laugh!
If you live in the U.S., you celebrate Friendship on the Second Sunday of August. But don’t wait for the weekend to tell your coworkers what they mean to you!
National Relaxation Day was suggested by nine-year-old Sean Moellers back in 1985. Celebrate this day by taking some time at the office to relax, maybe go out for a walk with your colleagues if it’s a sunny summer day…
Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day celebrates the employees who ensure your building safety. Celebrate it by telling them how much you appreciate their work. And why not offering them a nice gift for the occasion?
Both a celebration of the American worker and an unofficial goodbye to summer, Labor Day was first launched in New York in 1882 with a picnic and a parade. An official holiday, it’s paradoxically celebrating the importance of work and workers in our society!
Working Parents Day is the day you can celebrate your hard-working coworkers and friends who are also parents. It’s a good occasion to take them out for lunch and pamper them all day!
Who doesn't love a fresh cup of coffee? National coffee day is the perfect day to treat your teams to a specialty drink.
First established in 1998 by techies.com, Techies Day was created to celebrate all the people who contribute to technological progress. At the office, Techies Day is a great opportunity to thank those who fix your computer bugs on a regular basis! And why not taking this day to learn a new application of software and reveal the Techie in you?
National Boss Day is the best day to officially thank your boss for their input and help. Celebrate this day by sending them a note or appreciating what they’ve done for you throughout the years.
Created in 1992, Make a Difference Day has since inspired people to give back to their community. Celebrate this day by giving some of your time to a cause dear to your heart.
Work can be stressful sometimes. National Stress Awareness Day is here to remind us it’s essential to remove stress from your life, especially at work. Celebrate this day by analyzing the factors of your stress at work and launch an open discussion with your supervisors to avoid stressful situations in the future.
What would businesses do without their awesome accountants? Celebrate International Accountant Day by thanking your accounting team, praising its members and inviting them for a team lunch.
Since 1988, Computer Security Day celebrates the importance of cybersecurity in a world where most of our essential information is only virtually saved. So why not take the opportunity to change your passwords at work and make sure your antiviruses are up-to-date?
Now that more and more companies offer their employees charity days, “I’m working all the time” is no longer an excuse to postpone volunteering. Dating back to 1985, International Volunteer Day is the perfect occasion to give some of your time to volunteer for a cause. You can also celebrate this day by volunteering at the office (cleaning the fridge, cooking for the office, etc.) There is no shortage of opportunities!
A day after Christmas, National Thank You Day is the perfect time to thank your family, friends and colleagues who bring you joy or help you achieve your goals. Celebrate it at the office by giving a personal card, or buying muffins to the people you’d like to thank.
Celebrating the last day of the year and the beginning of a new one, New Year’s Eve is the perfect occasion to review past year's achievements and take on new resolutions. That could mean drinking less coffee at the office, interacting more often with your colleagues and managers, acquiring a new skill, etc.
Not convinced by the thought of celebrating a specific appreciation holiday? There are other types of events that you can build celebrations around to boost morale, encourage team bonding, and create a positive work environment.
Company anniversaries are a fun way to get together and toast. Milestone anniversaries such as 5, 10, 25 or 50 years in business warrant a celebration. Get catering at the office or rent an event space, have the CEO or founders of the company give a speech, and include games and prizes, such as a trivia competition based on fun facts about the organization.
Marking the launch of a new product or service is another way to increase employee engagement and motivate your team. Developing these offerings takes a lot of effort, so there’s something special about crossing the finish line and having a big celebration to close the loop on months of work.
Recognizing employee milestones such as work anniversaries, promotions and retirements can be enough of a reason to have an event at the office. Depending on the size of your team, you can also do something special for birthdays, either individually or by having one celebration a month for all birthdays celebrated that month. Cake should be involved, of course, but you can get creative with thoughtful ways to make people feel special.
Retreats and off-site events are growing in popularity due to the fact there are so many remote or hybrid workforces. For some teams, seeing each other in person for the first time in months – or the first time ever – is an opportunity to celebrate. Some venues specialize in hosting corporate retreats and can provide support in terms of designing the right event for you and your team.
Whether your team successfully wrapped up a huge project or finally hit a big sales target, the achievement of a goal can be a great excuse to host a celebration at the office. Get some tasty food, throw in a CONGRATS balloon, and have people share their biggest insights and learnings from the journey of reaching that goal.
Innovation days can also be the basis of fantastic workplace celebrations, especially if your workplace culture places a high emphasis on creative thinking and disruption. Choose a specific theme or problem to solve. Form cross-functional teams and have people brainstorm ways to solve the problem. You can even have teams pitch their ideas at the end of the day. Just make sure there is a plan for implementing the great solutions that inevitably emerge from your innovation day.
It’s one thing to say that you value employee well-being, and it’s another thing to show that you value well-being by building an entire celebration around it. From fitness challenges to stress-relief workshops, anchor the importance of work-life balance through a health-oriented event.
Celebrate the people who matter the most – your employees. Employee appreciation days can take different forms, with some organizations choosing to mark the occasion in a single day and others hosting entire employee appreciation weeks. Show your gratitude towards your team through various employee appreciation messages, activities and events during the day or week and watch everyone’s mood improve.
You can also turn the act of celebrating your customers into a celebration by hosting an office event that involves both employees and key clients. It’s a great way to mingle and reinforce relationships between internal and external stakeholders.
Professional development is a pillar of employee engagement, so why not create a celebration that involves some sort of workshop or training? Invest in the growth of your team by blending fun and learning in a professional development event. There are plenty of inspiring guest speakers and facilitators out there that can tailor the event to your needs.
Is your company committed to sustainability? Eco-friendly events and clean-up activities can be meaningful ways to get together and celebrate while doing something good for the planet and highlighting your commitment to sustainable practices.
On that note, you can also organize events that involve volunteering or community service. Sure, you won’t be feasting on drinks and food, but you’ll be giving back, which can be incredibly rewarding and make you feel connected as a team.
Hosting award ceremonies to recognize employees or departments for their performance is another great way to celebrate. Establish clear selection criteria, send formal invites, make sure your venue, decorations, food and refreshments are on point, and engage and entertain the audience. Most of all, make everyone feel included regardless of whether they won an award or not.
The holidays and event ideas above should give you plenty of inspiration for celebrating at the office. You can always come up with your own signature celebration if you’re into the idea of combining a few ideas and completely customizing your event.
To successfully do this, make sure you have a clear purpose and goals for the celebration. Know your audience – what would your team resonate with and care about? What would team members remember and talk about for months?
Consider choosing a unique theme and involving different people in the planning of the event so that employees can share suggestions for the celebration and truly make it their own.
Depending on your budget, you can get creative in terms of venue types – the sky’s the limit and you aren’t limited to restaurants. For example, some museums allow you to rent their spaces for private events.
Be mindful of any legal and safety considerations, as some spaces and events will require special types of insurance. Most of all, aim to have fun!
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