Admin Assistance: Just Say No to Cupcakes With These 6 Unexpected Office Birthday Ideas

Posted by on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 with Comments Off on Admin Assistance: Just Say No to Cupcakes With These 6 Unexpected Office Birthday Ideas Comments

Office manager, receptionist… party planner? As many administrative assistants can attest, their numerous job duties tend to include organizing office celebrations, birthdays being a common one. And with an already packed schedule, it can be easy for admins to find a reliable bakery and fall into a routine of ordering a box of their delicious cupcakes every time a birthday rolls around — especially if your workplace recognizes every employee’s birthday individually, rather than holding a group celebration for all the birthdays falling in each month. But is your office birthday routine causing your celebrations to lose their sparkle?

office birthday cupcakes

Don’t get stuck in the cupcake rut.
Image source: flickr user clevercupcakes

Cupcakes are great — they’re tasty, and they’re conveniently pre-portioned so no one has to cut a cake or dole out slices. But chances are the reason your workplace celebrates birthdays is to recognize each employee, making them feel special for a day; it also gives everyone in the office a little break from the daily routine and time to socialize together. However, when they’re always the same, you might be undermining that intended purpose by making birthday parties just another predictable task in the workday.

Switch up the routine by implementing some new, unexpected office birthday ideas! While you don’t want to play favorites (like staging a grand party for Amy in marketing and then just plopping a candy bar on the desk of Bob in accounting), it can rejuvenate the office’s energy — and coworkers’ social bonds — by making each employee’s birthday celebration unique. Even if you hold a group party each month, your officemates will appreciate the novelty of not-another-box-of-cupcakes with these office birthday ideas:

1) When you have a sports fan or two to celebrate, stage a tailgate or ballpark-themed lunch! Think hot dogs, hamburgers, peanuts, soft pretzels, buffalo wings, nachos, and caramel corn for dessert. Find out the favorite teams of the birthday boys and girls, and hang a few pennants or posters around the break room to personalize the celebration even further.

2) If your budget allows (and when it fits in with the personalities of your intended honorees), plan a spa day celebration. Serve healthy spa cuisine for lunch like kale salads, whole wheat pastas, salmon, and a lighter dessert like fresh fruit or an olive oil cake. Have a masseuse come in and treat the guests of honor to chair massages (and the rest of the staff if possible!).

coworkers toasting glasses

Raise a glass with an after-hours office happy hour.
Image source: flickr user FngKestrel

3) If it fits in with your company culture, throw an in-office happy hour after work on the big day. Bring in some local microbrews or bottles of wine, have non-alcoholic beverages on hand for employees who don’t imbibe, and serve pub fare like sweet potato fries and sliders. It’ll certainly be more affordable than putting a bar tab on the company card.

4) Keep with the dessert theme but switch up the offerings by setting up a sundae bar in the break room. Topping ideas include sauces, chopped candy bars, M&M’s, berries, and nuts.

5) Start the day off with a party and opt for a birthday breakfast instead of lunch or dessert. Donuts are the obvious choice, but you can also take it up a notch by splurging on a little something special, like lox to go along with the bagel tray or ordering in lattes instead of simply pouring from the coffeepot.

coworkers eating donuts in party hats

Birthday donuts and bagels are a great way to start a special day.
Image source: flickr user sally_monster

6) For summer birthdays, set up an indoor picnic buffet: cover the table in a red-checkered cloth, and serve pasta salad, fried chicken, hot dogs, deli sandwiches, sliced watermelon, potato chips, and lemonade.

The important thing, really, is to make it special for the guests of honor and to boost the team spirit of the office as a whole. Celebrations may add time to your schedule and take money from the budget, but building employee engagement and fostering a sense of appreciation in the workplace are the invaluable benefits of celebrating office birthdays! And with easy online ordering and delivery, can help make pulling off an office party a breeze — no Martha Stewart skills required.

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