With Christmas and New Year’s celebrations ready to take off, we take a look at a few trends shaping the workplace holiday party sentiment this year, and equip you with the necessary arsenal to get through office holiday parties!
Employees DO NOT want the company holiday party
A recent Randstad survey (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/what-do-american-employees-really-want-for-the-holidays-hint-not-a-cookie-swap-300557623.html) (in USA) on the annual holiday party says that almost 90% of the workers prefer holiday bonuses or some extra time off over the company party. Furthermore, tried and tested traditions like office gifting (9%) (or cookie swaps in some countries – 11%) got lacklustre response from the respondents, whereasa higher preference was shown to philanthropy (75%), holiday spirit in the workplace (54%) and happier/more generous colleagues (41%).
What’s more, the survey suggests that 62% of the respondents feel pressured to attend the event (especially 74% younger workers from the ages of 18 to 24). On the brighter side, 77% o the respondents believe that their employer is sensitive to co-workers of different faiths and cultures when planning such parties and activities.
Holiday Parties are sobering down
In the wake of recent #MeToo campaign that shone the spotlight on sexual harassment like never before, companies are considering removing alcohol from the menu, conducting the celebrations in daytime or dropping the party altogether, says the 2017 Holiday Party Survey Report by HR and outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc. While 4% of the American companies didn’t plan a holiday bash in 2016, this year the figure is 11.3%. Furthermore, those who served alcohol are at 48.7% this year – down from almost 62% last year. The foremost concern for the same is said to be employee behaviour.
But as rightly pointed out by this report (https://www.nbcnews.com/better/business/ceos-are-axing-holiday-bashes-because-metoo-party-isn-t-ncna831141), the holiday party is an easy target to reign in, so as to avoid addressing the fact that harassment is a year-round problem with power play at its core. Sure, the step might prevent any such incident from taking place at the party, but that doesn’t address the main issue at all. The reports of organisation planning to skip hanging the mistletoe or appointing party monitors to check ‘inappropriate behaviour’ are also making the rounds. Vox Media, for example, the company that recently fired its editorial director after allegations of sexual harassment, has switched an open bar for two redeemable drink tickets.
Your go-to guide to survive the office party this season
While we have discussed multiple times how you can get through networking events , Christmas parties and team get-togethers , we have found some new resources to make sure that you are not stressed this holiday season and survive the office parties with ease.
This report tells you some basic practical tips: reign in the anxiety, talk to the boss, don’t drink too much and most importantly, be respectful and gracious, as a lot of thought and effort has gone into putting together the event. The good people at Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc. who studied this years’ American office party trends, also remind us to arrive early, socialise with those outside of our department and very importantly, to not talk business.
If office holiday parties are a source of stress, and as many as 90% people would rather not attend them, maybe it is time to step back and understand why holiday parties at workplace fail to create a safe and positive environment outside the office for employees to unwind. While holding back on the liquor will definitely avoid a few from embarrassing themselves, it might not be the most effective way to ensure that harassment doesn’t take place. Maybe companies need to take cue from the findings from the Randstad survey, and work towards fostering the festive spirit and encourage giving back, rather than focussing on a single high-decibel event.
Have you attended your company’s annual holiday party yet? Are you about to?
Let us know your thoughts!
We wish you a wonderful Christmas, and a great year ahead!