The psychology behind workplace celebrations

The psychology behind workplace celebrations

Thought workplace celebrations were just a bit of fun? Think again. Here's the psychology behind workplace celebrations that every business should know about.

A good knees up in the office often makes the commute worthwhile. And although we actively champion any excuse for cake, there is much more to it than that. Workplace gatherings are actually are backed by science and can  play a key role in building a positive organisational culture.

In this blog we’ll explore the psychology behind workplace celebrations and how they can lead to a happier workforce.

Employee happiness

Birthdays and work anniversaries are probably the most commonly celebrated occasions in the workplace, serving as valuable opportunities to acknowledge individuals and reinforce their importance to the team. But these moments are far from superficial gestures - they have a significant psychological impact too. When employees are recognised, it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and satisfaction. This not only boosts the individual's mood but also fosters a positive work environment. Smiles all around!

Team bonding

One of the key benefits of workplace celebrations is the opportunity for social interaction. In a professional setting, these interactions are essential for building strong team bonds. According to a study by the University of Oxford, employees who eat together and engage in social activities are more likely to be productive and collaborative. Not to mention that employees who interact in a non-work-related setting are more likely to break down silos across departments who might not otherwise get a chance to interact. By improving relationships among co-workers, you foster a more collaborative and supportive working environment- which makes everyone happier to go to work.


Happiness at work isn’t just good for your people either - it’s good for business. A study by Oxford University's Saïd Business School found that workers are 13% more productive when they are happy - even more reason to celebrate!

So how can you maximise employee celebrations to keep everyone happy? Here are some tips:

1. Make sure that celebrations are inclusive. You can do this by accommodating all employees regardless of their cultural background, abilities, or dietary restrictions.

2. Regularly acknowledge different kinds of employee achievements - not just work anniversaries or birthdays. Perhaps you’ve finally delivered on a client project, or someone’s achieved major life goal - think outside the box!

3. Encourage participation from all levels of the organisation to break down hierarchical barriers - a social committee made up of volunteers from across different departments is a great way to do this.

4. Be thoughtful and tailor celebrations to the preferences of employees to further boost morale - regular staff surveys are a great way to take the temperature of people’s interests.

In a nutshell, celebrations are scientifically proven to bring happiness to your workplace. By getting teams together to celebrate team efforts and the solo wins, companies aren't simply splurging on prosecco - they're investing in a happier, more engaged workforce. So, let's keep the good times rolling because it turns out, a little party never hurt nobody - instead, it can build a team where everyone’s happy. 

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