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Jaded, worn out workers want to party

Matt Turner

Even the most jaded of workers can’t resist a good knees-up and enjoy a work party, according to research conducted by ComRes on behalf of Clownfish Events across a UK wide sample. Two thirds of British adults (67 percent) believe work parties are a good way for employers to reward their staff. Contributor Matt Turner, MD and Founder – Clownfish Events.

And they don’t mind whether it’s a summer or winter do, as long as the music is tuneful, food and drink is plentiful and everyone’s having fun. In fact, 17 percent of those surveyed thought that music was the essential ingredient for a good bash.

Generally, women are slightly more likely to enjoy socialising with colleagues than male workers. 70 percent of those interviewed that said they like to be rewarded with a works party were female, compared with 64 percent of males.

“There isn’t really one single party theme that is more popular than others when it comes to workplace events – each company tends to want to organise a party that fits well with their brand values and culture. But what we are finding is that companies everywhere are more inclined to want an understated event.  Gone are the days of having really lavish and ostentatious corporate affairs. The CSR movement and a heightened awareness of avoiding waste is influencing corporate party choices and companies are more likely to have multiple smaller events, than a huge blow out affair,” says Matt Turner, MD and Founder of Clownfish Events.

In keeping with wider demographic trends, younger workers in the millennial age bracket are most appreciative of a good party. 73 percent of employees aged between 18-34 voted for a work party vs 64 percent in the 55+ age bracket. Apart from the feel-good factor that a party creates, socialising with colleagues is generally seen to have a positive impact on performance and overall levels of engagement at work.

The Clownfish study showed that British workers believe socialising with colleagues helps them to perform better at work, with 55 percent thinking it was an important part of working life. Among the millennial age group, where life experiences are more highly valued than material assets, 72 percent of workers agreed socialising with colleagues helps them perform better at work, dropping to 45 percent for other working age groups.

“Most of us spend more time at work than in any other part of our lives and having a good relationship with colleagues makes such a difference when it comes to getting the most from people,” adds Matt Turner, MD and founder of Clownfish Events. “It’s not surprising that UK workers think parties are so essential, we work longer hours than the rest of Europe and are typically much more stressed. These results contradict some of the stereotypes surrounding UK workers and shows that when there’s a chance to celebrate, UK workers will forgo other perks and embrace the opportunity with open arms.”

Clownfish have organised workplace events for some of the UK’s biggest brands including Apple, Virgin, Google, British Airways, Microsoft, Bafta, John Lewis, Amazon, Lloyds, Channel 4 and Sky. According to Matt Turner, their most popular work party theme currently is the Digital Detox. It is indicative of employers acknowledging that workers need time to switch off from their devices and get away from the trappings of technology.

Here are some of the best current themes that are proven to boost your work culture and improve employee engagement.

Digital Detox –re-connect over back-to-basics fun and emphasise work/life balance This party theme is ideal for high growth, high performance workplace cultures where business is conducted at lightning speeds and there hasn’t been time to organise a summer party. Instead early autumn is an ideal time to re-connect with colleagues away from devices and distractions. Think fireside sing-alongs: a tipi, firepit, cosy blankets, toasted marshmallows and maybe an open mic for co-workers to show off their talents. There’s no need for expensive catering or fine wines, but you could include a discreet photographer, so no-one is tempted to use their phone to post the action on social media.

Brand values this party suits: suited to all brands looking to emphasise work/life balance and mental wellbeing. Great for high growth tech brands, start-ups and companies with a limited budget, e.g. VMWare, Swiftkey, DarkTrace.

Sporting Fun – competitive, team spirited, entrepreneurial and spontaneous. A sporting theme is the perfect choice for challenger brands, start-ups and dynamic or fast moving industries where risk-taking is the norm. With increasing numbers of people becoming more fitness orientated and companies wanting to promote health and wellness amongst their employees, sporting challenges are always very popular.

Brand values this party suits: excellence, growth orientated, teamwork, courage, commitment. Great for brands like: Metro Bank, Uber, Spotify.

Boho Festival – glamorous and fun; a good fit for international brands looking to emphasise the importance of ‘down time’ and adventure. Festivals always have an amazing vibe but can be a pricey weekend getaway these days. If your employees are the sort that like to invest in festival tickets but perhaps don’t have the budget, or perhaps they’re just reminiscing about more youthful adventures at Glastonbury, this could be the answer. A festival party is a fun theme for any company that wants to promote the importance of down time and outdoor fun, whatever their employee demographic.

Brand values this party suits: innovation, distinctive, open-minded, sustainability. Great for creative brands like: Montezuma’s, Tatty Devine, Etsy

White Party – stylish, sophisticated and achingly cool
When the sun is shining, this theme is ideal for luxury brands and high-end professional services companies that might also want to celebrate their organisation’s emphasis on promoting diversity and a cosmopolitan culture. Think Mediterranean islands, white furniture and ambient lighting to recreate an exclusive holiday hotspot. Add a dance floor, DJ, chill out zone and plenty of entertainment for an event worthy of an A-list beach club.

Brand values this party suits: best for brands with passion and style who want to emphasise the importance of diversity and individualism. Great for brands in professional services and consulting, retail and fashion, e.g. Deloitte, Burberry, Selfridges, Grant Thornton

Traditional English Fair – heritage, tradition, under-stated style and practicality This theme is great for brands that want to emphasise their British provenance as a sign of quality – like custom manufacturers, food and drink producers and ethical brands. Choosing a garden party theme with traditional accents like deckchairs, bunting, fairground rides and side stalls (with some Pimm’s and strawberries thrown in!) is a great way to celebrate the summer, keeping costs down but still delivering an event that is unique and memorable.

Brand values this party suits: community, fun, quirky, sustainable, heritage, traditional. Great for brands like: Higgidy, Sipsmith, Riverford Organic, Radley

Day at the Races – pick a winner and place your bets. Great for financial brands and city start ups If your team are already risk takers and enjoy a flutter. Or perhaps they need encouraging to take a few more risks?  Why not host a race day themed work party? This is a high energy, fun-filled option, where the odds are always favourable and winning is everything.

Brand values this party suits: entrepreneurial, growth mindset, risk taking. Great for brands like: Salesforce, Transferwise.

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