Graham Bird- Director of workplace consultancy Where We Work- explains the value of ‘The office Christmas do’ and why the ‘Bah-Humbug’ approach should be avoided at all costs…
The countdown to Christmas is in full swing, which means many workplaces around the country are getting ready to don paper hats and take part in Secret Santa. But whilst many workforces enjoy the festivities, there are some organisations that avoid celebrations entirely, believing they will be fuelled by relaxed inhibitions, office gossip and bouts of inappropriate photocopying.
But, how important is the ‘office Christmas do’? Does it play a big part in improving worker’s morale at the end of a hard year? More importantly, what’s the impact of not throwing one at all?
First of all, an office celebration is more than ‘just the Christmas party’. It is something that many staff will talk about fondly for weeks and it will play a big part in shaping how your business is viewed by employees. The Christmas party is also a thank you from management to staff. It’s a way that employers can show their workforce that their time and hard work has been greatly appreciated. In contrast, not throwing one at all can leave a sour taste in employee’s mouths as they feel their efforts are not appreciated. And – as we know, happy workers are productive workers.
A great Christmas party is also a way to strengthen your company culture. Some of the biggest brands in the world aren’t just successful on the basis of the products that they sell- many are also renowned as being great places to work for. The Google’s and Facebook’s of the world are recognised globally for having fun and promoting a happy company culture and generally making staff feel valued.
Free food, games rooms and gym memberships are all investments of time and money that reap dividends through lower attrition and greater productivity. Obviously slides in the office aren’t going to be achievable in many company budgets, but allowing your staff to let their hair down at the end of year party is affordable, and will allow you to tap into that ‘Google culture’ sought after by so many.
The Christmas party is also a great vehicle for team bonding. Indeed, it may be one of the only times of the year that members from different departments mix with each other. Most employees don’t have the opportunity to properly bond with colleagues during the working year and this problem is heightened in larger companies with numerous departments. Many members of staff may hardly have the chance to meet face to face, which can result in a somewhat divided work climate.
Interns and company directors come together to relax and mingle at the Christmas party, which may spark conversations that can drive your business forwards. Teambuilding activities can also be incorporated into the event – something as simple as a Christmas quiz can be a fun and cost-effective way of bringing people from different departments together.
Rewarding staff, particularly at the year’s end, helps to keep them positive and focused – something which is important for a fast-growing business looking to build a positive workplace culture.
Cutting back on the Christmas celebrations can also be detrimental to productivity and sends out a negative message. Having a party need not break the bank, and doesn’t need to be ostentatious or excessive. Furthermore, Christmas parties actually have a good track record for return on investment. The average UK salary is £26,000, so a Christmas party with a budget of £60 per head is just 0.25% of a staff members’ yearly salary.i
If the purse strings really are tight at your company, there are still low-cost options to get people in the festive spirit and show your appreciation for staff. A small adjustment to the scenery of the office can make it a great place for the party; a karaoke machine, some festive lights and a mobile bar make great additions. Thursday and Fridays reign supreme in the festive booking spree, so holding your Christmas party towards the beginning of the week can result in a cheaper package and a chance to get in at an exclusive venue (you might want to consider a 10am start the following day though!).
So, it’s clear, not holding a Christmas party can have a large adverse effect on motivation and staff’s sense of worth, which will have knock on effects on productivity.
The Christmas party is a chance for staff to unwind and for management to show their appreciation for their employee’s hard work over the year and with low cost options available, there’s really no excuse not to throw a festive bash.
Now where’s the mulled wine and mince pies…?
i Be Vivid, 2017 – http://www.be-vivid.co.uk/our-news/Christmas-party