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British office workers excited about return to pub lunch occasions

Published:  03 February, 2022

Despite the inevitable trepidation surrounding the Omicron variant, 85% of British office workers say they are looking forward to a return to the office and getting to spend more time with colleagues – with work social events high on the agenda.

That’s according to new national research published by pub operator and brewer Greene King.

The survey uncovered a startling fact: more than a third of UK workers today have never met their colleagues in person.

“Over half the British working population believe that it is important to socialise with work colleagues at a local pub or restaurant, but due to work from home guidelines that were in place, haven’t yet had the chance,” the report stated.

According to Greene King, 44% of UK office Christmas parties were scrapped at the end of 2021. The researched uncovered a strong desire from staff to socialise outside of work, believing that their employers should be spending more time and money arranging social events in 2022 to make up for the disruption and loss in 2021.

Alex Dawson, business unit director for premium and urban pubs at Greene King, commented: “The pub isn’t just a place to drink, the pub is a hub for creative ideas, friendships and team bonding. Working from home had a major impact on social activities. Everything from mid-week lunches to after work drinks had to be put on hold so it’s no surprise people are eager to get back to socialising and spending time together in the pub.

“We are giving people the chance to finally enjoy all those special moments with colleagues and friends that may have been missed in previous months due to Coronavirus restrictions and we can’t wait to welcome you back”.

He added that prior to the pandemic, almost half of office workers in Britain would go to the pub or a local restaurant for lunch up to four times a month with colleagues.

This stands in stark comparison to the 55.5% of people who didn’t socialise once with their colleagues outside of the office in 2021, due to the pandemic.

When asked what they missed most about working in the office, the survey revealed that over a third of British workers missed social occasions such as a local pub lunch and after work drinks with colleagues and 52% admitting to now feeling a physical disconnect from colleagues as a result.

The data also indicated that social activities are not just added perks of the job with 75% of those polled stating that in person events are an essential way to bond with colleagues.

As reported by Harpers, the hospitality industry suffered greatly during Christmas 2021, due to a dramatic fall in consumer confidence.

Data released by UKHospitality and CGA Strategy in January painted a grim picture for on-trade businesses, with sales in UK pubs, restaurants and bars falling 60% on Christmas Day, 31% on Boxing Day and 27% on New Year’s Eve, when compared to 2019.