After work (or even during work) parties are in the news a bit at the moment. There are many people who love work social events and many others who don’t. If the aim of your work social event is to improve team bonds, events where some people are unhappy don’t help. Considering what makes work social events problematic for some people (esp. introverts), will help you plan a more introvert friendly work social event.
TLDR: Planning parties & work social events for introverts
Planning successful work social events and work parties, involving your whole team means understanding and considering their needs. Involve them in the planning and make it easy for people to have a quiet time or leave early.
It’s not just introverts who don’t like parties
Introverts are not anti-social and they’re not the only group of people who don’t like work socials. I know several extroverts who would rather not go to a work social event.
What’s the case for work socials?
From a leadership perspective a team of people who get on well and do more than “just” work seems like a good idea. Stronger bonds between team members improves the team; so the assumption is that socialising helps build those bonds. To a greater or lesser extent, most people enjoy socialising with people they’re are close to; but our work colleagues don’t all fit that category and forcing the issue won’t change it.
5 tips to make your party introvert friendly
If you’re planning a work social, don’t be shocked if everybody isn’t as enthusiastic as you. Here’s 5 ideas to help make your work/ social event introvert friendly.
- Planning: If you want the less enthusiastic (whether introverts or others) to join in, involve them at the planning stages. They’re then involved which already means you’re building bonds and they’re also more likely to create an event they want to attend.
- Recovery time: Introverts lose energy when socialising. You could help by arranging quieter areas in the venue, so people can sit (or talk) quietly. Arrange refreshment stations around large-scale events so introverted guests don’t have to cross a packed room of people to get a snack. With several options to choose from, introverts can enjoy all the amenities without less stress.
- Forced participation. The classic for this is a karaoke where you expect your whole team to partake, but it could be as simple as apparently much less stressful things. Making people join in, won’t work for many people. If your aim is to build team bonds, be aware of how many you could break.
- Activities: Like in a team meeting, don’t suddenly demand introverts answer questions, especially in front of everybody. Introverts think to talk, extroverts talk to think; plan any activities accordingly and don’t suddenly spring things on people.
- The end of the event. Many introverts I’ve spoken to really struggle with events where it’s unacceptable to leave early, the real classic being New Years eve. I’ve interviewed many one employees who are absolutely shattered by 9:00 in the evening, often believing their boss would be incensed if they left before the end (10). If your “people energy” has drained away (typical for introverts), it’s really hard to remain at the event.
Understanding how introverts are (de) energised and activities they may not like, will allow you to create a social event which more people will enjoy and you’ll get more value from.