Remote working might mean offices are quieter than ever, but that doesn’t mean workplaces are slowing down on team-building events and staff parties for their workforce. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Poptop, the number of staff parties is on the up – with more and more UK businesses opting for smaller, family-focused work events in place of the extravagant corporate parties of the past.

The changing trend in corporate parties

Poptop recently surveyed 370 business clients to assess the changing trends in corporate party planning in the wake of the hybrid-working boom and the cost of living crisis. Perhaps surprisingly, Poptop’s survey revealed a sizeable 48% increase in staff gatherings and parties from 2019. Yet crucially, the types of parties being planned are changing. Poptop’s survey revealed a massive 57% uptick in new, ‘family-friendly’ corporate events.

These smaller, budget-conscious work gatherings come with an open invitation for team members to bring partners and children along to enjoy the festivities – a far cry from the traditional boozy Christmas events that became synonymous with 21st-century workplace culture. 

This change in tone can also be seen in the categories of party services chosen by corporate bookers. Buffet catering and bartender bookings declined by 40% against 2019, whilst corporate food services like BBQ’s were up 60%. The truly telling data point comes from family activity bookings – magicians and children’s entertainers all see a staggering 100% increase versus 2019 numbers. So what’s precipitating this considerable culture-shift?

The rise of hybrid working

The answer partly lies in the ongoing move to remote and hybrid working. According to the Office of National Statistics, 44% of UK workers are now reporting some level of hybrid working. More workplaces than ever offer a form of hybrid model – and whilst the benefits can be numerous, it does present a potential motivational problem for HR departments. Inter-team connections, a once crucial element of workplace culture, become harder to foster over online calls and remote office software. Bringing teams together frequently, and fostering true personal connections between workers, has become key to productivity and overall business success.

With the move to hybrid working, the workplace mindset is changing along with it. ‘The office’ starts to feel less like a siloed environment that’s somehow separated from family life. As the workplace integrates into the home, it makes sense that workers wish to introduce more of their home life into the office in turn. Family workplace events feel like a novel solution that can bring together both of these previously disparate worlds. And with rising costs for families, companies can now offer their employees a cost-effective way to entertain the whole family.

Better for businesses

These new family-friendly events carry benefits for businesses too – namely, they’re easier to budget than traditional corporate events. These inclusive workplace parties often take place at the office, or in nearby parks or outdoor spaces, meaning party planners are saving big on venue hires.

Subsequently, team get-togethers can be organised much more frequently, with multiple Poptop clients reporting planned corporate events every few months, as opposed to once or twice a year.

Eugene Shestopal, CEO, Poptop, commented:

We’ve seen a significant change in party planning patterns post-COVID, and not just among private bookers, but also corporate parties and gatherings. With a large proportion of people working remotely or in a hybrid model, getting staff together frequently has become absolutely essential and more and more HR departments are starting to realise it. At the same time, the shift of the work-life balance is encouraging companies to arrange more family friendly gatherings, to make them more accessible for people with kids.

Eugene Shestopal, CEO, Poptop

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and Family History Zone. After obtaining a bachelors degree in English literature and media studies, Joanne went on to spend two years of her life writing and teaching English in China and Vietnam. Prior to joining Black and White Trading, Joanne was a marketing coordinator for luxury property in Brighton focusing on blog writing, photography and video creation.