What do Gen Z-led sober curiosity and the ‘damp’ lifestyle movement mean for work socials?

After an indulgent festive season, some people who opted for a detoxifying Dry January will have counted the weeks, days, hours and possibly minutes until Feb. 1 and its promise of uncorking some wine or sipping a frothy ale again.

Yes, after 31 sober days — and nights — their skin is smoother, their eyes are more sparkly and their bank accounts also look healthier. But the promise of a pint, a goblet of red or another favored tipple will likely be irresistible. Or will it?

Increasingly, people — especially Gen Zers — are looking at giving up booze entirely with a glass-half-full attitude. A decade on from when the first official Dry January was observed as an Alcohol Change UK campaign, today’s “damp” lifestyle movement and “sober curiosity” are reshaping societal norms.

Social media platforms, especially TikTok, have had a hand in driving the popularity of these trends. Indeed, the #Sobertok hashtag — where sober TikTokers share their stories and experiences — has over 1 billion views.

What, though, does this mean for work socials and client meetings, where, traditionally, booze has been a social lubricant? 

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in February 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Glass half-full or half-empty: How to balance a partying culture at work

What was your honest reaction when Sanna Marin, Finland’s prime minister, was scandalized for partying recently? In August, the 36-year-old sparked controversy after leaked videos showed her dancing and drinking with friends. 

Whichever side of the bar you sit on, Marin’s partying raised important questions about how business leaders in all walks of life should conduct themselves when with and without colleagues in a social environment. 

How do employees feel about a boozy boss? And do enforced work events, where people are encouraged to imbibe at a free bar, help or hinder the health of a workplace in a post-pandemic world?

Indeed, in most industries, for decades – if not centuries – socializing with colleagues and attending work drinks has been central to company culture. Away from the workplace, over a glass or two, people can relax, make meaningful memories, share challenges and opportunities – at work and home – and, ultimately, strengthen bonds with coworkers. But is the glass half-full, half-empty, or completely empty in 2022?

This article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in September 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Mojitos in the metaverse? More companies take to hosting team happy hours via virtual reality headsets

Before the pandemic, U.S. marketing agency The Starr Conspiracy’s employees would enjoy Olympic-like competitions in the office car parks and revel in regular in-person, happy-hour meetings. However, with the fun tap turned off by the coronavirus-induced restrictions, company bosses sensed disconnection and isolation were growing for remote-working staff. So they reached for virtual reality headsets.

Now, all 72 employees have Oculus Quest 2s, which cost about $300 per set, and join in for happy hours and quiz nights in the metaverse. But, aside from the obvious practical issues — it’s hard first to locate and then swig a mojito while wearing an obstructive plastic mask — will employees swallow such activities, and can they genuinely re-engage staff?

This article was first published on DigiDay’s WorkLife platform in February 2022 – to continue reading please click here.