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White Cool Or Jolly Japes? Pick The Perfect Summer Party

Summer parties can be more than just an excuse for a knees-up. They're great for de-stressing, enforcing brand values and reconnecting with colleagues.

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Summer parties can be more than just an excuse for a knees-up. They're great for de-stressing, enforcing brand values and reconnecting with colleagues.

Opinions

White Cool Or Jolly Japes? Pick The Perfect Summer Party

Summer parties can be more than just an excuse for a knees-up. They're great for de-stressing, enforcing brand values and reconnecting with colleagues.

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#Mentalhealth Awareness Week ran from May 14-20th and this year the focus is on stress. Not exactly surprising - people in the UK work longer hours than anywhere else in Europe.

Stress can be very detrimental to productivity and engagement, not to mention our wellbeing. Over 11 million days are lost at work every year because of stress, according to annual reports by the Health & Safety Executive. More significant to business owners is the £1.24bn cost to UK employers of these high levels of absenteeism.

Balance sheets aside, we all know about the powers of exercise and mindfulness for combating workplace stress; but one of the best (albeit rather underrated) antidotes is an office party.

Even the most jaded of employees can’t resist a good knees-up and in many respects, office summer parties are now overtaking Christmas dos as the must-have annual employee event. They’re more flexible to organise – which also makes them more cost effective – and they offer a greater return on investment in terms of improving productivity.

An office summer party is an opportunity to boost employee engagement and reinforce cultural values, whilst rewarding your hard-working team at the same time. Most importantly of all, it’s a chance to step away from the 9-5 and have some fun!

Paradoxically, given the current focus on eliminating workplace stress and the technology available to enable more flexible, remote working, many employees are more stressed than ever.  This is primarily due to an ‘always on’ culture in the workplace and general smartphone and social media addiction.

"Summer events can convey an employer’s brand values and reinforce its personality"

In some companies, workers are effectively cancelling out every single day of their annual leave allowances, simply because they are using their mobile devices to work outside office hours.

As a result, more employers are choosing employee summer events that also offer the chance to re-connect with colleagues and share quality time away from their devices. This kind of event can be surprisingly cost effective too.

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 phones and post the action on social media.

A digital detox event is suitable for all brands, regardless of their specific cultural values, because it makes the vital connection between respecting work/life balance and the impact of proper downtime on mental wellbeing.

Whereas a Christmas party is often fairly traditional, summer events can be much better at conveying an employer’s brand values and reinforcing its personality. This is important for everyone but especially for millennials, who tend to value personal experiences, their employer’s values and a sense of feeling appreciated over material rewards.

If a detox isn’t needed for your team, here are four other cost-effective options that can be used to convey specific brand values and create a consistent cultural experience that boosts employee engagement levels.

·         White Party – stylish, sophisticated and achingly cool.

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: passion, attention to detail, diversity, dare to be different, simplicity, style

Great for brands like: 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: community, fun, quirky, sustainable, heritage, traditional.

Great for brands like: Higgidy, Sipsmith, Riverford Organic, Radley

·         Sporting Fun – competitive, team spirited, entrepreneurial and spontaneous.

This theme is the perfect choice for challenger brands, start-ups and dynamic/fast moving industries where risk-taking is the norm. With the 2018 World Cup just about to kick off and increasing numbers of companies wanting to promote health and wellness amongst employees, sporting challenges are likely be very popular this summer.

Brand values: 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.

If your employees will be hankering after their usual week at Glastonbury come June, this could be the answer. Use the fallow year to your brand’s advantage and bring the main stage to them.

Brand values: innovation, distinctive, creative, open-minded, sustainability

Great for brands like: Montezuma’s, Tatty Devine, Etsy

Matt Turner is founder and MD of Clownfish Events.

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White Cool Or Jolly Japes? Pick The Perfect Summer Party

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