Should You Skip Your Company Christmas Party?

Even if there’s no Party Planning Committee battle, Princess Unicorn, Secret Santa, or regional manager marking his territory with a permanent marker, an office Christmas party can still be a blast, right?

Well, not so much.

Twenty-nine per cent of professionals polled describe holiday parties as fun or entertaining, while two in five (40 per cent) give these events a thumbs down, according to a survey by staffing firm Office Team.

And black-tie galas and festive ice sculptures may be a thing of the past -- only 13 per cent of workers polled said they’d categorize their company holiday parties as extravagant.

Eleven per cent of workers categorizes their soirees as lavish or rowdy.

Either way, professionals aren’t necessarily counting down the days until their company shindig.

Slightly more than one-in-five of those surveyed (21 per cent) described their holiday parties as obligatory.

And here’s how it breaks down by age: Twenty-four per cent of workers ages 18 to 34 said they feel pressure to attend holiday work events, compared to 11 per cent of those ages 55 and over.

So the question is, to party, or not to party? Slightly more than one-fifth (21 per cent) describe year-end bashes as obligatory, while 55 per cent view them as optional.

Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam, advises workers not to duck out too fast.

“Holiday events offer a less formal opportunity to build relationships with colleagues and executives in areas of the organization you may not otherwise have exposure to,” said Vasilopoulos.

“Taking the time to participate in festivities can improve visibility within the company, while also helping to encourage office camaraderie and establish a more collaborative and enjoyable workplace.”

The survey of workers was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 550 Canadian workers, 18 or older and employed in office environments.


TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES

Mix and mingle. Socialize with coworkers outside your usual circle. These celebrations are an opportunity to meet people you don’t work with every day.

Curb shoptalk. This is your chance to get to know colleagues in a social setting, so don’t make it all about business. Conversation starters can include people’s holiday plans or New Year’s resolutions.

Don’t be a scrooge. Though holiday time can be stressful for some, keep your discussions positive and upbeat. Avoid controversial topics such as politics and gossip.

Limit libations. ‘Tis the season to party, but not too hard. Drink in moderation and remember holiday parties are still work functions.


TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS

Ask for input. Survey your staff to see how people want to celebrate. Feedback on venue, food and timing will get planning off to a good start.

Build a buzz. Get the word out early. Talk up the event with management in all departments, and don’t shy away from reaching out to employees individually.

Get creative. A big budget isn’t the only way to throw a successful holiday party. Brainstorm unique ways to build camaraderie without breaking the bank.

Show appreciation. Employees want to feel recognized for their hard work. Incorporate an element into the festivities that shows your gratitude.

(Source: OfficeTeam)

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