2022 W51: Lunch or Dinner?
Rows is now "Building in Public". Every week I post about one thing that happened! Check them all here.
We had our Rows.com Christmas & Winter party last Thursday.
It was fun. We flew in the team who lives abroad, booked a great restaurant and a place for drinks in downtown Porto. Most visitors came Wednesday through Friday so that they could spend more time with the Portuguese locals and enjoy the (sun) rain 🌧️🌧️🌧️.
Two days prior to that I was catching up with one of our investors about the business, and for some reasons we talked about xmas party plans. He told me they had their party during lunch time.
That got me thinking. What's the best party mode: lunch/day or dinner/night? I'm going to go on the record and say day parties and lunches are better than night parties and dinners.
This is not an all or nothing, you can do some during lunch and some during dinner, but I think that the fundamentals are far better for lunches and day-parties rather.
Let's deconstruct team events. What are they for?
Events are an opportunity for colleagues to bond in a more relaxed setting. There's two components in here:
The *bonding*. Bonding is a social activity, and people associate bonding and relaxing to "after work". So that would mean that events make more sense at night and over dinner, as that's how groups of friends get together.
The *colleagues*. We're together because we work together. We work during the day. Bonding should submit itself to the nature of the relationship.
Ultimately, I think the work nature of team events wins. I get the feeling that it's a better fit with work.
My supporting arguments for this:
Bigger attendance. People already allocate the day time to their companies. Doing an event during the work day makes absences minimal, as you're just exchanging one work activity for another. Night events requires coordinating family time, and often travel too, which reduces the chance people can attend.
Less personal burden. People are paid to be at work during the day, not at night. I think it's perfectly fine to attend events at night, and if you travel for work you already have to sacrifice family time. But if it's avoidable, why wouldn't you avoid it?
Better conversations. Music at night is usually very loud, especially in restaurants, and this noise makes conversations harder.
Safer parties. At night is where more car accidents and more violent crime (adults) happen. Given that your team doesn't all live next to each other, they'll have to travel to the destination, or go back to their homes by themselves, which at night may be less safe than desirable.
Daylight Activities are healthier. I suspect it's hard to beat the unhealthiness of a combo dinner + drinks. Even if you burn some calories with the latest dance moves you learned from ChatGPT, you're probably better off playing the monopoly with your team over pizza, during lunch time.
Daylight Activities are fun and better for business. You learn more on how to work together by doing daytime activities like an escape room/ visiting some place/ learning how to cook, than by partying like an animal.
Cheaper. Restaurants, travel etc are more expensive at night than during the day. Sure, during the night you're not "using up work time", but isn't that the purpose? To use work-time to do something with work colleagues?
For all these reasons I will propose that our next "night event" becomes a day event. In fact, I think company social events should be "day by default". We should do dinners and night activities when a majority of people have already travelled to a location together for several days (traveling for work).
What do you think?
See you next week