Amid the shift to remote and hybrid working arrangements, employers should ensure their after-hours social events are “easy, intentional and sincere,” says Kim Siddall, vice-president of enterprise consulting in the west at People Corporation.

“The [coronavirus] pandemic gave employees permission to start opting out of aspects of [workplace] culture they didn’t really like. They’ve also made changes in how and where they work, which makes it important for any kind of connection to be meaningful and have intention.”

The topic of opting out of workplace social events was highlighted in a recent lawsuit in France. The country’s highest court ruled that a worker who was fired for failing to be fun — by not participating in work events that the employee alleged involved excessive alcoholism and promiscuity — was wrongfully dismissed.

Read: Survey finds U.S. employees switching jobs for higher pay, better workplace culture

There has also been a shift away from office happy hours, especially among younger workers. A report by Berenberg Research found millennials drink less alcohol than baby boomers and generation X, while generation Z drinks 20 per cent less per capita than millennials did at the same age.

When planning an after-hours social event, Siddall suggests employers consider the interests of all workers by incorporating points of connection around who they are and what they appreciate. “I think employees are treating their personal time as precious. A good friend of mine said, ‘There’s only so many virtual escape rooms you can do.’”

Read: Employers must shape workplace culture to fit preferences of younger generations: survey