- The link between work and alcohol has led to a recent research that revealed the increasing numbers of sexual harassment at work parties where alcohol was present.
- A huge number of workers are seeking workplaces that offer wellness-related amenities and events, according to a report conducted by Mindspace.
- Not only can you think about hosting wellness and creative-related events, but workshops for professional skills and development, and cultural events, too.
When it comes down to organizing a fun work-related activity, the default has typically been a boozy Thursday night on the town. In fact, Thursday night drinks have become so popular in our post-pandemic world, that it’s led to the saying: “Thursday is the new Friday.”
Even the coworking industry has jumped on the bandwagon, with many workspace events centering on alcohol, and workspaces offering unlimited free beer on tap. Yet, combining work with alcohol isn’t advisable. Workplace drinking is “associated with power and misogyny,” as it’s a male ritual packaged up as a “team-building exercise that is supposed to enhance a sense of community at work,” says organizational anthropologist John Curran.
Encouraging the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol in the workplace also leads to safety concerns. A recent survey conducted by the Chartered Management Institute reveals that “a third of managers overall (33% of female managers, 26% of male ones) said they had witnessed harassment or other inappropriate forms of behavior at work parties” where alcohol was present.
Not everyone drinks alcohol or enjoys drinking with coworkers, and when people don’t partake they can feel left out of their social circle. With the coworking industry largely promoting a welcoming community, it’s time to stop hosting alcohol-related events and start planning inclusive events for everyone.
Here are five community events that don’t involve alcohol to help you break the booze cycle and move from happy hour to happy workspace.
We’re currently living in a wellness era, where putting your needs first is totally acceptable. Good well-being leads to happier workers and workplaces, increased productivity, and a stronger community.
Having wellness-related activities is highly sought after, as the recent findings of the Employee Wellbeing Survey conducted by workspace operator, Mindspace, found that “an astonishing 9 in 10 employees consider wellbeing facilities and options a critical factor in choosing where to work.” 40% of survey respondents prefer to have a gym in their workplace, whilst 27% would prefer a swimming pool and 25% would like to have yoga facilities.
Many coworking spaces are leaning into this trend, offering “on-site fitness centers and yoga studios, providing opportunities for members to engage in quick workouts or rejuvenating yoga sessions. These facilities promote vitality and encourage a healthy lifestyle,” writes Helga Moreno for a recent Allwork.Space article.
Hosting wellness events, like yoga classes, and meditation sessions, for instance, encourages your community to step away from work for a moment to take care of themselves whilst promoting a sense of well-being in your workspace.
Encouraging your community to take time out during the working day requires more than hosting a few wellness-related events. The Nordics are trailblazers in the act of self-care, and the ritual of Fika in Swedish culture is “where you take time out of your day to pause and enjoy a hot drink and snack.” The English translation of Fika literally means “to have a coffee.”
Leaning into this important cultural tradition gives you a moment to pause and socialize with your coworkers. London-based Runway East has introduced “Cake Wednesdays” into its social calendar as an alternative to drinking socials. “We pride ourselves on doing things differently and being as inclusive as we can,” says Jacob Fisher, CCO of Runway East, “Cake Wednesday is a sacred date in the weekday calendar at Runway East — across our sites, and it allows our members to indulge in midweek mooch over a Bakewell.”
You can even ask your community to bake their own cakes to bring into your workspace to get their creative juices flowing. Creativity is beneficial for the mind, body, and soul, sparking productivity and innovation, as well as reducing stress.
Many people enjoy doing artistic pursuits but can’t put aside the time or have the resources to fully engage. This is where coworking events come in excellently because you can host creative events that are missing from your community’s social calendar.
Think about inviting local artists to come into your workspace to lead a practical session or give a talk about their passion. Or you can host your own painting evenings to help your community unwind from a busy workday and bring them together to connect with one another in a calming and creative environment.
Skills and development programs
Coworking is unique in that it brings together a diverse mix of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and employees together to make up a community. This means there are a lot of different skill sets available for you to tap into when it comes to hosting events in the workspace.
Think about what your community is seeking in terms of professional development, and match those needs with individuals in your workspace who possess those skills. Incentivize them to host a lunchtime workshop on useful skills like marketing, entrepreneurship, and technology.
Contributing to your social impact strategy, you can invite members of your wider community to benefit from your events and access opportunities they might not otherwise be able to. Some workspaces have even formed partnerships with local universities. Opening events to students can help them “gain invaluable real-life office experience, which could be a significant advantage when transitioning to full-time employment.”
Host inclusive events
October was U.K. Black History Month, and it was celebrated across the workspace industry as events were put on to celebrate Black communities, and speakers invited into coworking spaces to talk about the achievements of Black individuals.
Facilitating events that celebrate Black culture and history encourages open discussions, and creates a welcoming and inclusive workspace environment. Cezanne HR recommends that workplaces can “raise money for charities that help people of Black and minority ethnic backgrounds…organize a bake-off, a virtual quiz, or sponsored bike ride.”
Whilst planning these kinds of events, it’s important to be culturally aware and respectful. Think about including representatives in the planning process, and consider hosting cultural events not only when they’re celebrated by others but ideally all year round.