If you are in charge of decision making for your end-of-year office party, consider these these nine trends.
The world over companies are reimagining the end-of-year celebration, moving away from buffets and shooter stations towards activities that foster shared experiences.
Odele van der Merwe, General Manager of ANEW Resort Hazyview Kruger Park, has observed some dynamic shifts from the traditional end-of-year dinner dance to creative, team-focussed activities.
She notes, “These new trends are encouraging since company celebrations primarily aim to build camaraderie, nurture unity, and generate anticipation for the new year. While catering and drinks are still part of the equation, the changing landscape of year-end activities places a conscious emphasis on what truly matters: connecting with one another.”
Here are the nine trends that reflect how companies are showing appreciation to their employees:
1. Spreading Good Vibes And Giving Back
Corporate social responsibility continues to rise, with many companies incorporating charitable or community involvement into their year-end celebrations. Activities may include team volunteering for local causes or engaging in initiatives like beach clean-ups.
2. Born To Be Wild
Companies are opting for outdoor adventures such as zip-lining, laser-tag, target archery, treasure hunts with clues and puzzles, and quad-biking to provide unique team-building experiences that encourage friendly competition.
Some companies are shifting their focus toward employee well-being by organising wellness retreats, yoga sessions, or meditation workshops to promote a healthy work-life balance.
4. Interactive Pursuits
Instead of passive entertainment, many companies are opting for interactive experiences such as cooking classes and DIY craft workshops to learn a new skill whilst having fun.
5. Kickback And Unwind
Not all year-end functions need to be interactive or intense. A great trend is having a relaxed day with open-air movie theatre, a much-needed spa day, a game drive or hiring a comedian to relieve stress, and provide a shared experience that helps employees unwind.
6. What’s For Lunch?
Dietary preferences are gaining prominence, extending meal options beyond vegetarian to include vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb choices. Emerging trends in food and beverage offerings incorporate food trucks and creatively themed food stations.
7. Virtual Game On!
The pandemic accelerated the development of innovative ideas for virtual gatherings. Online murder mysteries, trivia, and virtual escape rooms have facilitated hybrid events that connect teams from around the world.
8. Sustainable Soirees
Companies are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact and are choosing eco-friendly venues, decor, and catering options for year-end events that minimise their ecological footprint. Companies are increasingly seeking venues that have established environmental plans and actively work to reduce their carbon footprint, aligning their event choices with their commitment to sustainability.
9. Themed Parties
Themed year-end parties are making a resurgence, favouring imaginative and modern concepts over traditional themes like luaus and retro Hollywood. Fresh ideas, such as “Fantasy Quest” parties that transport guests to a medieval fantasy realm with knights and dragons, inject creativity and excitement into celebrations, fostering camaraderie among employees and offering a break from the ordinary.