The Office Party Strikes Back!

Bob Goldman on

Companies are doing everything they can to lure you back to the office.

They're not paying you more -- that would be wrong -- but managers will guilt you ("You never call. You never come in. After all I've done for you.") They will even go Mafia on you ("Your job is sleeping with the fishes.")

These attempts to lure you back are doomed to failure.

There was a song popular after World War I, " How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?'" Well, after fighting the COVID-19 wars, the new version might be, "How ya gonna keep 'em down in the office after they've seen how cool it is to work from home in your pajamas and never have to commute again?"

Despite their desperation to woo you back, one area of pre-COVID-19 office life to which companies are finding resistance are traditional "fun events," including the ultimate workplace cliche, the office party. If you've lost the thrill of eating stale cupcakes and exchanging gag gifts, you're not alone. Consider Kate Morgan, who recently piped up on to declare "The Death of 'Mandatory Fun' in the Office."

According to Morgan, not only is the office party on the outs, but workers are also putting the kibosh on traditional big-fun activities, like Hawaiian shirt days and ugly sweater days, as well as team-building outings to obstacle courses, laser tag theme parks and miniature golf courses. No more trust exercises, either, like falling backward off a rock to be caught by your co-workers. (And good riddance -- why should you trust your bodily health to a bunch of people you know are plotting to steal your lunch from the office refrigerator?)


Instead of these bogus fun events, companies are initiating "events that people actually want to attend." It's a worthy idea, but can you count on your management to come up with such radical ideas?

Let's help them out, shall we?

No. 1: MiseryFest

One "major American corporation" that has got it right, almost, has instituted "whine and wine" parties on Zoom. "It's an hour," explains employee-engagement expert Adrian Gostick. "Everybody talks about their terrible clients and aggravating bosses."


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