How To Throw An Office Birthday Party

Who doesn’t love an office birthday party? You probably don’t have someone as awesome as Dwight and Jim planning your party (check out those incredible decorations below), but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw an awesome party for your co-workers! Celebrating birthdays are a great way to show employees they are valued, and it helps them feel special. If you’re lost on how to throw an awesome office birthday party, keep reading. 

Why is Kudoboard perfect for office birthdays? 🎈

It’s an efficient and thoughtful way to bring your team together. Check out our group brithday cards

4 Reasons To Celebrate In The Office 

First of all, we should discuss the importance of celebrating birthdays in the office. Simply recognizing an employee’s birthday is a nice way to say “Hey, you’re valued! We appreciate you!”. Aside from being polite, having a workplace birthday party has many other benefits as well. 

  1. Reduces Turnover

It is no surprise that employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to stay at their job. A perfect way to help them feel appreciated is by recognizing their special day. According to Harvard Business Review, there are many reasons why people quit their jobs. Midlife milestones (ages 40 and 50) can cause employees to leave if they feel unhappy at their jobs (12% of jobhunting occurs before birthdays). 

  1. Offers Opportunities for Team Members To Connect 

Socialization has a significant impact on team bonding. What better way to offer time to socialize than celebrating someone’s birthday during an office party? It’s also nice to have a break from work for a bit. 

  1. Enhances Employee Satisfaction 

According to Michigan State University, taking breaks during the day helps workers feel more engaged, increases job satisfaction, mental health, and more. Offering regular breaks is essential, but breaks to celebrate other employees are even better (hello, food is often involved). 

  1. Helps Team Members Feel Appreciated

Celebrating birthdays and other milestones is a great way to help team members feel appreciated and seen. Employees that feel appreciated are more likely to work harder and be team players. 

Do’s and Don'ts of Office Birthdays 

With any office celebration, there are considerations to make while planning. Below are some tips to make an office birthday great and appropriate. 

Do’s

  • Make sure everyone is included. Don’t forget to invite everyone on the team (including hybrid/remote workers), and make sure they have an opportunity to sign the card if you’re doing that. 
  • Plan for a time that you know most of the team will be able to attend. It goes without saying that it is unlikely everyone will be able to attend. 
  • Order/offer food for the celebration! It doesn’t have to be a huge blowout by any means, but the food is a staple for many celebrations, and it helps boost morale and give the employees something to do at the said celebration. 
  • Remember EVERY birthday, from reception to management. Make sure everyone feels important and try to be fair. 

Don'ts 

  • Get too worried if everyone can’t come. It is impossible to accommodate everyone’s schedules. Just make sure everyone knows about the party. DO make sure the birthday person can attend, though. 
  • Get too crazy. An office birthday is not the same as a traditional birthday celebration. This is a time to recognize a fellow employee's birthday in a tasteful and thoughtful way. Going over the top for each birthday isn’t feasible and would be hard to repeat for other employees. 

How To Include Hybrid and Remote Workers

Nothing feels worse than feeling left out of an activity, especially a birthday celebration. Don’t let those remote workers feel left out, find ways to include them. The company, Inovu has a hybrid office, and this is how they celebrate birthdays: 

“Each month, our offices have monthly birthday parties to celebrate those who had a birthday that month. However, we also have several home-based workers who we cannot celebrate in the office. We do something extra special for them to ensure they know they are loved and made to feel special on their birthday. Each of our home-based employees is sent a custom mug with a hand-illustrated portrait and card wishing them a happy birthday. While we know it’s not the same as being able to celebrate their special day with others, we hope it makes them feel a little more part of our Inuvo family.”

— Amanda Hughes Propst, Inuvo

Other ideas to include hybrid and remote workers include having a virtual party, meaning you celebrate on zoom and in person. Have the remote workers join in through zoom for the festivities. Hybrid birthday activities could be as simple as a coffee break celebrating the birthday person, or doing online team activities together. 

If your team is entirely remote, check out 11 different ways to have a virtual party

Group Card Options

A birthday celebration isn’t complete without a card. Honestly, the card is probably the easiest part of celebrating an employee’s birthday. There are a few ways that companies can tell their employees happy birthday. 

Kudoboard

Creating a virtual birthday card signed by the team is easier than ever with Kudoboard. You can add gifs, messages, photos, and videos to the card. It is simple to add coworkers and guaranteed to be a hit with the birthday guy/gal. 

Birthday Points on Slack 

Slack has many cool features, but one that intrigued me is the Birthday Bot. The birthday bot is great because you can keep track of everyone’s birthdays, and it will remind you whose birthday it is. With Birthday Bot, you’ll never forget a birthday or work anniversary again. It comes with a variety of automated messages, and you can even send gift cards to the birthday person. 

Decorate Their Desk 

This is ideal for smaller companies/teams. Decorating their desk is a classic and thoughtful way to show the birthday employee how much they are valued. Amazon has cheap decorations to use, and you can reuse them for each birthday. Personalize it by getting their favorite treat and leaving them a card signed by the team. When the birthday employee sees it, they won’t be able to stop smiling. 

Birthday Party Food Options 

If your company can have food at the team birthday celebration, there are many options. A word of caution before we get into the treats, make sure to check for allergies from the employee that is being celebrated. Nothing is worse than not being able to eat your own cake (or other food). 

Party food doesn’t have to be expensive either, so let's dive in and find some sweet or savory (or both) treats for your next birthday party. 

Drinks Everyone Will Love 

Please don’t serve food without serving something to drink with it. Below are many drinks that are budget-friendly and delicious. 

  1. Fruit Water. Simply fill a nice container with some ice water and cut up the fruit. Not only does it look colorful, but it tastes great too. Everyone will love it. 
  2. Lemonade. Serving something other than water doesn’t have to be difficult. Lemonade is a yummy drink that almost everyone loves, and you could even offer two different flavors if you’re feeling fancy. 
  3. Hot Chocolate Bar. For those winter birthdays, hot chocolate is a perfect treat. Set up a simple bar with hot water, a few different hot chocolate flavors, and whipped cream. 

Savory/Fresh Foods 

You don’t have to serve a three-course meal to celebrate birthdays. Here are some options for every budget. Smaller teams/companies could also try a potluck or sign up to help ease the burden of supplying food for everyone. 

  1. Veggie Trays. Vegetable trays are a classic. You can make them better by adding different dips like hummus and peanut butter. 
  2. Fruit Baskets. Offer fruit and some bread/cheese and this simple (and delicious) snack is ready to go. 
  3. Pizza Party. Pizza is easy, delicious, and a crowd favorite. It is also cheaper than a lot of other food options. 

Sweet Treats 

Birthday celebrations wouldn’t be special without a yummy treat! Ideally, this would be the employees’ favorite treat, but that isn’t always feasible. Below are some options that everyone can enjoy. 

  1. Donut Bar. Donuts are a fun treat and there are a lot of flavors to choose from. Getting a variety will ensure that everyone will get something they enjoy. 
  2. Cookies. Who doesn’t love cookies? Grabbing some cookies from a local bakery is a yummy way to treat everyone. 
  3. Cake. This should go without saying but cake is another easy treat that is easy to serve to everyone.

Activities

If you have time for activities, that’s awesome! Activities are a great way to promote team bonding and celebrate an employee's birthday. Below are a few ideas. 

  • Karaoke Night (Or afternoon, karaoke machines are pretty easy to come by.)
  • Happy Hour 
  • Murder Mystery 
  • Minute to Win It Games
  • Board Game Party (Everyone brings their favorites, break up into groups to play). 

These activities don’t have to take a whole afternoon, in fact, many of them can be done in an hour or less. I also like that you can do these once a month to celebrate everyone’s birthdays, and it is pretty easy to put together (you can reuse ideas from previous months). 

Bigger Companies  

For bigger companies, it may not be feasible to host a large birthday party for every single employee. In this case, smaller gestures are still appreciated. Here are some ideas for small gestures that will still feel like a big deal. 

  • Lunch On Us: Send the employee a gift card for UberEats so they can choose their lunch and have it delivered on their special day. 
  • Gift Card to Amazon.
  • Email from Management: A quick email letting the employee know that they are thought of is better than nothing, and it will be appreciated! 
  • Company Swag

Final Thoughts

Birthdays are a big deal, and they should be celebrated. Not just by loved ones, but by co-workers and companies too. Sharing the joy with others by celebrating employee birthdays helps to reduce employee turnover, helps employees feel appreciated and happier at their jobs, and so much more. Help your employees feel happier at work by hosting a workplace birthday party soon!

Jenni Berhold

Jenni has been married for over a decade, and is a mother to three children. Jenni loves to help others by offering words of encouragement, advice, or a listening ear. Jenni loves to spend time outdoors, play the ukulele, and be with her family. She believes that every day is worth remembering, especially the good days.