The Race that Stops a Nation

Melbourne Cup Day… Just another public holiday or a great opportunity for employee engagement?

By Rowena Horne

Spring Racing season can mean lots of different things to different people.

A complex schedule of military-esque timings to coordinate hairdressers, pedicures and fake tan touch ups…

Cheering until you’re hoarse for a horse you’ve never heard of to come last in the race so you win back your money in the office sweep…

Feeling like you may have crashed a wedding after-party as men in tuxes and ladies carrying their shoes flood onto your tram…

A regime of pre-dawn starts and special diets for punters, trainers, jockeys and horses alike.

Whatever your involvement, when the nation stops at 3pm on Tuesday 1 November not many of you will be thinking of the logistics. Extreme marquee builds, sourcing furniture from Europe, flower and canape refreshment schedules…though some of you will be thinking about the port-a-loos thanks to Kenny .

Here at Bunch, the production team can’t help but consider these things. The race that stops a nation is more like the carnival that dominates the event organisers, builders, production and catering company’s’ schedules for months.

However, as a group focused on improving workplace culture we’d like you to consider more than all of the above… we’d like to encourage you to use Melbourne Cup Day to engage your employees. It’s the perfect opportunity to draw teams closer together – for fun, silliness and a little excitement.

Alongside the traditional sweep why not hold some other competitions…fancy hat awards (chicken head tea cosy anyone?), creative rocking horse riding or perhaps the best horse neigh contest?

If you only have a few people in your team, that’s no excuse. Why not get to know your n-e-i-g-h-bours (sorry) in nearby businesses or on other floors by inviting them to share your snacks and watch the race together.

And while they are there, racing trivia is always fun… so as you gather with fascinator or pocket square in place, perhaps you can dazzle your audience by casually dropping in these 5 little known facts:

  1. Don’t drink and ride – jockeys in Victoria must have blood-alcohol readings under 0.02
  2. 100,000+ bottles of champagne will be consumed on cup day (not by the jockeys obviously)
  3. A recent HR & Workplace survey showed that 55% of bosses cough up for Melbourne Cup drinks (a helpful stat if you are having trouble getting your party approved).
  4. Most major sporting events in Australia ground to a halt for both World War 1 and World War 2…but not the Melbourne Cup!
  5. It was first made a public holiday in 1866 just 5 years after the first race.

We are thankful Bunch is based in Melbourne and we will certainly be having some fun of our own. We’ll keep you posted on our social media channels.

Happy Cup Day everyone!

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