London sheds glitz for holiday parties
Team bonding is the theme for Christmas parties in London’s financial district this year as managers tone down the annual knees-up and label it as staff development.
Fearful of a public backlash if they revived the opulent festivities of the pre-crisis era, some banks and financial firms are opting for smaller, quirkier events that can be accounted for as a learning activity rather than just a staff perk.
Treasure hunts, cocktailmaking, go-karting and wine tasting are some of the things companies are laying on for employees.
Before the 2008 crisis, a specially erected marquee in London’s Canary Wharf offered Christmas parties with sit-down dinner, free-flowing champagne and a band on stilts for banks such as Lehman Brothers and HSBC.
“Every year, budgets go down,” says Pascale Miller, an event executive at London-based Precipuus Events, which organizes parties for London firms such as HSBC Private Bank.
“But because it’s part of teambuilding and because it’s often a learning activity, they can mark that off in the budget as something separate from pure entertainment.”
Informal venues such as pubs are being chosen over ballrooms, and the dress code is more sportswear than black-tie.