Are managers more Scrooge or Santa this season?

A new poll of over 1,200 UK managers published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that most bosses clearly recognise the role of the Christmas bash in rewarding staff and celebrating success at the end of a hard year – but some remain more Scrooge than Santa when it comes to seasonal festivities.

The survey found that:

  • 70% of managers will be doing work-related activities over the Christmas holidays, 46% of whom will do so every day
  • The sectors where managers are most likely to keep working include management consultancy, business services, health and social care, education and manufacturing
  • 13% of managers say their organisation will stay open over Christmas & almost half (48%) of those say they won’t take any additional time off
  • The majority of managers (60%) believe that Christmas parties are an important way of recognising hard work, and that they help improve employee engagement (57%). However, 42% of managers say that many employees choose not to attend the party held by their organisation
  • More managers say the Christmas party is an important way of recognising hard work throughout the year, than was the case before the recession: 60% agree this year, compared to just 45% in 2007
  • Only 17% think that the risk of poor behaviour outweighs the benefits of a celebration
  • However, 30% say there won’t be any Christmas festivities this year in their organisation
  • And 30% of those organisations that do host a Christmas event won’t make a financial contribution
  • 40% of managers agree that an expensive end-of-year party could damage the organisation’s reputation, but only 24% say they would prefer it if the money was spent on something else.

Patrick Woodman, Head of Research at CMI, commented on the findings:

"Celebrating the festive season is as much about business as it is about bubbles , yet some employers may be more Scrooge than Santa where staff parties are concerned. This should be the time of year to reward teams for their efforts and achievements, so it’s a shame many employees are set to shun Christmas parties this year."

"However, most managers agree that a Christmas ‘do’ is an important way of showing their appreciation to staff and – despite the stereotypes – most agree that the benefits outweigh any risk of misbehaviour. Whether it’s the traditional evening party, a lunch or an alternative activity, it’s good for business to bring teams together and celebrate the end of a hard year."

With high numbers of managers reporting that they’ll be doing work over the Christmas break, he adds:

"Of course some organisations stay open across the festive period, whether that’s essential services like healthcare or global industries where Christmas bank holidays don’t apply. But many managers will also be picking up work at home over the break and emails are never far away. It’s important that employees are encouraged to switch off for a few days to recharge the batteries for next year."

The sample of 1,253 managers spans respondents from across a wide range of economic sectors, sizes of organisations and levels of management seniority.

Managers can follow the Christmas party conversation in December on Twitter using #officechristmasparty.

Get the Future Forecast Christmas Edition Infographic by clicking below

Christmas Infographic Download

Further information:

For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Laura Bates – or 020 7010 0817

Shona Mathew – or 020 7010 0884