HOLIDAY HUMBUG

Survey Suggests Office Holiday Parties May be Losing Popularity

MENLO PARK, CA -- Would you rate your company's holiday get-together a "must-go" or "no-show" event? In a recent survey, 64 percent of executives from the nation's leading businesses said they believe that over the past decade the annual office party has lost favor among employees. 

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. The poll includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies. 

Executives were asked, "Is the office holiday party more or less popular among staff today than it was 10 years ago?" Their responses: 

Much more popular   1%
Somewhat more popular   10%
Same/no change   15%
Somewhat less popular   33%
Much less popular   31%
Don't have a party   7%
Don't know/no answer   3%
    100%

"Many firms are scaling back lavish holiday functions in an effort to control costs," said Liz Hughes, executive director of OfficeTeam. "But even informal gatherings to celebrate the season can be effective in building camaraderie and rewarding employees for their contributions throughout the year." 

Hughes said the key is to not let work parties feel like work: "If employees feel obligated to attend business-related social events, they're less likely to enjoy themselves." She offers these tips for increasing the "fun quotient" at your next holiday gathering: 

  • Get feedback - Management's idea of a good time may differ from that of the rest of the team. Poll employees at every level for opinions on what food to serve, the location and time of the party, and more. People who have a say in the process are more likely to attend.
     
  • Take money out of the picture - If your firm is awarding bonuses, be mindful of the timing. Presenting checks at the party or on the same day will likely tie employees' enjoyment of the function to the size of their bonus. 
     
  • Make it easy to attend - Keep the R.S.V.P. process simple, and if you're holding the function a considerable distance from your office, provide transportation.
     
  • Keep it light - It's fine to have a schedule of activities, but allow plenty of time for people to mingle. Limit discussions of specific work projects at the party.
     
  • Focus on the big picture - What do you want people to take away from this function? That your firm is a fun place to work? That hard work is recognized? That the team can pull through difficult times? Communicating your core message to attendees can help increase motivation and teamwork in the months ahead. 

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com


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