You may have seen the back-and-forth happening on LinkedIn lately. First, someone writes a heartfelt post about how remote work changed their life, gathering hundreds of likes. Then someone else hits back with a post about how they miss their colleagues.
As dozens of people battle it out in the comments section, only one thing is clear: the remote work debate is far from black and white. But with many companies focusing on employee retention and employee turnover since the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a positive work culture and keeping employee well-being in mind is crucial to prevent burnout.
At TravelPerk, we were curious how most companies have been approaching team building and in-person events since the pandemic. We reached out to admins, office managers, and travel managers to bring you a few key team-building and collaboration statistics. The professionals we surveyed come from a global pool of different organizations, varying in size from 1-25 employees to 1000+ employees. We asked them what kinds of events they’ve been planning, how they organize those events, and how often they plan to bring their teams together.
As it turns out, working remotely and seeing your colleagues face-to-face aren’t mutually exclusive: most people love both! We found that most companies are now organizing more in-person events than they did over the past 12 months. Even for remote teams and distributed teams, “IRL” (in real life) contact still matters.
Here’s what we learned in our recent Teams Together survey:
Key team building statistics for 2023
- 81% of respondents are organizing more face-to-face events compared to the last 12 months
- The most popular event types are team lunches/dinners (70%)
- The most important factor when choosing an event venue is finding a location close to the office (33%)
- When organizing team events, respondents care most about staying within budget (62%), planning fun activities (49%), and ensuring as much attendance as possible (37%)
- The most difficult thing about event planning is making last-minute changes (37%)
Most companies arrange team get-togethers monthly
Our survey included remote, hybrid, and fully in-person teams. Our research shows that all these types of teams get together for corporate events, with most doing so on a regular basis. Over a quarter of companies said they like to get together once a month, while 22% prefer every three months.
Regular events help organizations stay consistent with their team-building programs. To build a strong company culture and team culture, it helps if colleagues know when they can expect to see each other in person next.
While weekly meet-ups make sense for certain kinds of teams (9% of survey respondents said they met weekly), most teams find that monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual meetups offer the perfect balance between independent work and in-person collaboration.
Teams love special meals and seasonal events
Who doesn’t like to bond over food? Nearly 70% of our respondents said team lunches or dinners were a popular event option, while nearly 60% said they are planning seasonal parties (like a Christmas party or summer party).
But there are plenty of other event options that teams love. Half of the respondents said they’re planning team-building activities, while 46% are planning after-work socials, and 44% are planning workshops.
When choosing which type of event to host, you’ll need to consider time, location, relevance, and team members’ preferences. If you’re not sure what people want to do, consider sending out a company survey to find out.
Most companies are booking business travel on websites designed for leisure travel
Did you know there are special tools designed to streamline business travel booking? If you answered “no”, don’t worry—most companies are still using consumer platforms to book their business travel.
When it comes to organizing travel, the data show a similar trend: most businesses don’t use specialized collaboration tools to organize their event, with 79% using email and 58% using Outlook Calendar.
If this sounds like your company, you’ll definitely want to look into business travel booking tools. These tools offer many exclusive benefits for organizations, such as group booking discounts. Most businesses (55%) say they don’t currently get special group discounts when traveling.
But business travel booking software, such as TravelPerk Events, will help your company save money on event travel with corporate booking rates. It can also help you communicate with event attendees effectively, without the hassle of long email chains. With TravelPerk Events, you can easily book travel and accommodation, share schedules and activities, and keep everyone updated on changes—all on a single, easy-to-use platform. To learn more, check out our guide to bringing your team together, without the stress.
See how TravelPerk makes business travel stress free
Location can make or break your event
When choosing an event location, most companies want to stay convenient and close to the office. But choosing an interesting location is a top priority as well. Nearly 13% of respondents named this as their number one consideration, beating out other factors like price and accommodation options.
It can be tough to think of cool, affordable, and convenient locations that are accessible to everyone. To get some ideas, check out our guides to the top 20 international business trip destinations, and the top 15 retreat locations in Europe.
Staying within budget is top priority
Travel managers and admins know how crucial it is to stay within budget during a company event. The cost of venue bookings, transport bookings, and hotel bookings can really add up.
So it’s no surprise that nearly 62% of respondents said sticking to a budget was one of their top three considerations when organizing a team event. Some other key considerations are planning fun activities, managing attendance, choosing great food options, and finding an exciting location.
When trying to stick to a budget, it’s important to make sure your team is booking travel within your company policy. Business travel booking software can automate the approval process for you, making sure your travelers’ trips stay on track, and your event doesn’t end up costing more than planned.
Last-minute changes can be a challenge
Let’s face it: organizing a team event isn’t always easy. There are always hiccups that may arise along the way. We asked our respondents to rate nine potential challenges as “easy”, “okay”, or “difficult.”
The most challenging factor was managing last-minute changes, which 38% of respondents rated as “difficult.” Other roadblocks included finding dates that work for everyone (34%), finding a suitable venue/location (22%), and securing budget (22%).
Luckily, these difficulties are far from insurmountable—there are tons of solutions out there that can help. For example, with TravelPerk’s FlexiPerk program, you can pay a small fee to make any trip refundable and get 80% of your money back. FlexiPerk offers 40% average savings compared to traditional flexible fares, making last-minute changes a lot less stressful to deal with.
Main takeaways and next steps
In short, here’s a quick summary of what we learned from our Teams Together survey:
- In a remote and hybrid world, face-to-face team communication still matters. Companies are booking more in-person events than before, as they seek out new ways to learn, grow, and bond while promoting teamwork.
- Today’s teams love to travel for company events, especially social events like lunches and parties. And they travel often, with many choosing to meet up on a monthly basis.
- Companies care about choosing the best locations, planning fun activities, and finding the right food options—but they also face challenges, like staying within budget and handling last-minute changes.
- Most companies are using sites designed for leisure travel to book business travel, even though they could be missing out on efficiencies and cost savings.
P.S. The business benefits of team building
You may be wondering if company events are really worth it from a business perspective. The answer is: absolutely!
Team building events help create a positive work environment where collaborative work can happen. Through icebreakers and other team-building activities, great teams can get to know each other better and develop healthy communication patterns, improving team collaboration, employee morale, and job satisfaction.
By investing in workplace collaboration projects, like team building initiatives and events, you’ll create more engaged employees who use effective communication strategies in the workplace. Events also offer a great opportunity to reward high-performing and effective teams for a job well done. Up to 55% of employee engagement is driven by this type of non-financial recognition, according to McKinsey. Ultimately, employee engagement and employee satisfaction can impact companies’ bottom line and profitability.
High-performing teams start with shared culture and values, according to Harvard Business Review, and face-to-face contact can help build up this culture in a more direct way than virtual meetings or virtual team-building activities. In addition, according to Gallup, highly-engaged business units enjoy better team performance, including 81% lower absenteeism and 14% higher productivity.
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