Press release:

Don’t make booze the ‘main event’ at work Christmas parties after survey found a third of managers witnessed bad behaviour

  • CMI survey found that almost one in three managers (29%) reported witnessing inappropriate behaviour or harassment at work parties.
  • Thirty-three percent of women surveyed said they had seen this behaviour, compared with 26% of men.
  • Two in five (42%) said work parties should be organised around activities that don’t involve alcohol.

London – The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has reminded employers planning festive parties that they may want to curb the alcohol on offer after its research found that almost one in three (29%) managers had witnessed inappropriate behaviour or harassment at past parties.

The number of women who reported that they had seen bad behaviour (33%) was notably higher than men (26%). But 71% of managers did say they believe work parties play a vital role in boosting employee morale.

But more than four in 10 (42%) of managers said work social events should be centred around activities that do not involve alcohol.

According to the survey, the demand for more alcohol-free work events was more prevalent among women (46%) than men (37%) and among younger workers aged between 16-34 (48%).

The survey was taken in the spring following allegations of inappropriate behaviour, and alleged sexual harassment and assault at a staff party hosted by the business lobby group the CBI, which was left fighting for its survival.

In response to the research, the CMI’s Head of Public Affairs, Caroline Mallan, said:

Socialising with colleagues is a great team building opportunity that many people enjoy, but  booze should not be seen as  the main event.

Younger workers in particular and women have told us that they are more interested in work social activities that do not involve alcohol, and good managers and leaders need to take that into account when deciding how to bring teams together for social gatherings.

That might mean adding fun activities to an evening, limiting the amount of drinks available per person and ensuring that managers are alert to the risk of someone drinking too much and behaving inappropriately, either towards others or by embarrassing themselves in what is, after all, still a professional setting.

Managers have a responsibility to ensure there are safeguards in place.

– Ends –

Media contact:

CMI Press Office

Notes to editors

  • This Managers Voice Pulse Point Poll was conducted between 20th April and 26th April 2023.
  • A total of 1,009 managers took part in the poll.
  • Please note the findings relate to practising managers in employment in the UK.
  • For the purpose of reporting, the public and third sectors have been aggregated into one category.
  • Caroline Mallan is available for interview.

About the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute is the professional body for managers and leaders. We have a membership community of over 200,000 aspiring and practising managers and more than 150,000 people are currently studying on one of our management and leadership programmes. Our Royal Charter defines our charitable mission as increasing the number and standard of professionally qualified managers and leaders.