Events Beyond the 9-to-5
How to craft events for all hours
People too often schedule events according to perceived patterns of behavior, but what if you could take a different approach and be just as successful? It’s important that your event starts at the time when attendees are most likely to engage according to your meeting purpose. But depending on the goals of your meeting, hosting events outside of the 9-to-5 time frame—during both the evening and morning—can generate a combination of benefits that will amplify your conventional practices.
This train of thought was inspired by singer-songwriter Tanya Chua’s recent partnership with Renaissance Asia Pacific, which focuses on enriching guests’ lives beyond the 9-to-5 time frame, expanding possibilities for the 5-to-9 hours that follow it. The collaboration got us thinking about how to choose the best time for your event—even when it’s an unorthodox hour.
A meeting held before conventional business hours might seem bizarre, but considering that most early risers are at their best in the mornings, scheduling a breakfast event makes more sense than you might think. Whether it’s a fundraising event, corporate meeting or academic gathering, a breakfast engagement can capitalize on the following benefits:
- Improved attendance: People are often too busy to attend events during their busy daytime schedules, but there is a greater chance they’ll say yes to your RSVP if your event doesn’t conflict with their regular routines.
- Pancakes, anyone? Offering scrumptious breakfast favorites is a great way to lure people in, especially with delicious scents of coffee, pastries and fruit.
- Energized minds: Research suggests that people are most alert and productive in the mornings, so events requiring brainstorming or active discussions will be elevated during breakfast hours.
After-hours events are a great way to promote unity among staff members, who can bond over enjoyable activities while taking a welcome break from work environments. There are plenty of possibilities for after-hours events, including visiting your local park, going for a drink or hosting a post-event after-party. Get creative and enjoy the following benefits of after-hours events:
- Return on investment: Unhappy employees can undesirably affect businesses financially. A recent breakdown suggests the average unhappy employee costs a business $38,000 annually! This underlines the importance of after-hours events, where staff happiness can transfer to the work environment.
- Increased productivity: According to one study, happy employees are 12 percent more productive. One of the leading causes of staff dissatisfaction is a lack of togetherness, which can be ameliorated with after-hours events. Happier staff are more productive—everyone benefits.
Things to Consider When Planning After-Hours Events
- Ask for attendees’ input: Evening gatherings are prime for sociability, and attendees are likelier to be game for these events if they’re genuinely enthusiastic about the activity. Ask employees to contribute ideas, and incorporate these into the planning process. Keep in mind that leisure means different things for different people, so make sure that your event offers something for all attendees. For example, cocktail hours are the classic after-hours event, but teetotalers can feel isolated—easily fixed with an inventive nonalcoholic mocktail.
- Make attendance optional: When you host an after-hours gathering, you’re asking people to spend their free time with colleagues instead of their friends and family. Don’t make attendance compulsory—if people choose to be there instead of feeling forced to attend, they’ll enjoy themselves more.
- Choose the right venue: When planning off-hours events, it makes sense to indulge attendees a little—you’re asking them to disrupt their routines, so it pays to pamper them and show them that you care about their well-being. Consider a luxury venue, like the five-star JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa. If attendees are impressed by the venue, they’re more likely to reward you with productive work. Regardless of your event’s intentions, choosing an elite venue like the Phu Quoc will provide an enriching experience for all involved.
- Leverage networking opportunities: Dinner and cocktail gatherings are great for networking and should be arranged for evenings. Thursday is a prime choice for networking events, as attendees aren’t burdened by a full week’s work ahead of them. People can unwind and relax, with readily flowing conversations that benefit business relationships.
- Feed your people: Will you be offering food at your event, and if so, what time will it be served? This is a crucial consideration for after-hours events—it’s particularly important to coordinate your after-hours timing with catering staff. If you can’t afford dinner catering, arrange your event after dinnertime; otherwise, people will show up expecting a meal. Aligning expectations with attendees will help ensure a successful event.
Extending beyond the realm of conventionality will help you achieve greatness. Strictly conforming to the 9-to-5 model will limit your potential, whether you’re coordinating a business or entertainment event.