When you think of a work social event, what images come to mind?
If it’s people in brightly coloured paper crowns gathered awkwardly around a desk, sipping white wine from plastic cups, then I’d suggest it’s time for a re-think!
Social events shouldn’t just be something that organisations feel obliged to do once a year at Christmas.
They are a great way of building relationships within your team without any of the usual pressures associated with the working environment.
So much so that in 2016, Forbes suggested team building is ‘the most important investment you’ll make.’
With the pandemic re-shaping the way many of us work and interact with our colleagues, this is arguably truer today than it was back then.
As with so much in the world of work, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this.
Every organisation will learn what works best.
Smaller organisations might try and find something with universal appeal that the whole team can bond over.
For larger companies, organising events across a broader spectrum of interests will allow people to get involved with something they’re genuinely passionate about.
Perhaps meeting people they seldom speak to.
The key to a successful social event is often to make it as far removed from the organisation as possible.
Sure, the pub next to the office is probably a fine venue for a quick drink after work on a Friday.
Why not try the new indoor crazy golf that’s opened up on the high street?
What about a comedy evening?
Or an escape room?
Or a zip-wire through the mountains?
Taking people away from their familiar environment will encourage a new way of interacting that could be difficult to achieve otherwise.
What’s more, teammates that connect on a personal level have far more valuable working interactions than those whose relationships stretch no further than the office door.
For colleagues working remotely, rather than being a different way to interact, a team social event may be the only time they get to speak with certain team members.
And in an age where attracting and retaining talent is becoming ever more challenging, fun and successful events like these may be just the thing that gives you the edge over your competitors.