Is it time to ditch the work Christmas party?

12 December 2018 -

Work Christmas partyCompany Christmas parties may need a radical rethink, according to new research

It’s a time to socialise with colleagues, reward hard work and celebrate in style, but new research has found that the office Christmas party might not be the most wonderful time of the year. According to a survey of 1,000 UK workers by employee benefits firm Perkbox, 29% of staff revealed that they dislike the seasonal bash. Tellingly, the top three reasons why this tradition is proving to be more ‘bah humbug’ than ‘holly and jolly’, all relate to socialising.

The reasons why employees don’t like Christmas parties

The survey revealed that 34% of workers dread the Christmas do because they don’t like to mingle with their colleagues. Thirty per cent of respondents revealed that they find the event too cliquey, and 27% of workers said that they simply don’t like organised fun.

Chieu Cao, CMO & co-founder at Perkbox, says: “The Christmas party is something that many employers rely on to commemorate the festive season and use to reward staff for their hard work. However, the data shows that actually this Christmas perk is creeping out of favour amongst some sections of the workforce. It is telling that this mostly seems to be due to the social aspect – either because [employees] don’t want to be forced to socialise with colleagues, or because they find this kind of situation where often people will break into groups too cliquey.”

Do managers need to rethink the Christmas party?

When asked to suggest other options for the Christmas bash, 23% of workers said they would prefer to have a team meal. A further seven per cent of people said they would like to take part in a daytime activity with their team. For managers keen to provide other alternatives to the Christmas party, Cao thinks that it’s effective for bosses to give departments a budget, and let them choose their own event.

Ultimately, Cao says, the Christmas celebrations should form part of a wider workplace strategy, which rewards and recognises employee performance. As mentioned in a previous Insights article, keeping employees engaged is the key to ensure staff retention. “Whatever businesses do to mark Christmas this year, it is best organised as part of a year-long reward strategy that will help maintain good morale, staff retention and a sense of team,” Cao says.

Read more: 12 ways to boost employee engagement

Image: Shutterstock

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