Christmas party on, dude?

With the Christmas party season coming up, we thought it would be apposite to do some research into how small businesses are feeling about hosting parties in these somewhat troubled times.

Of the 613 small businesses we spoke to (which includes staff of course), 69% of businesses said they are planning to hold a Christmas party. Of the businesses that said they wanted to party, 74% said they really wanted a good one and deserved a “fun, lively party”.

(Which, one assumes, will involved hijinx on photocopiers and declarations of love which wouldn’t have been made without copious amounts of booze. Actually, has anyone got so drunk they declared their love for a photocopier? Let us know!)

While I thought it was a common opinion that Christmas parties are things one has to tolerate – especially if you’re a photocopier that spends the evening fending off buttocks – the majority of people we spoke to, 70% in fact, said they like office parties and 18% said they loved them! There were a few dissenters, with 16% saying they viewed the parties as an ‘unnecessary expense’ or a waste of time.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand why some people might feel that way about Christmas parties. 31% of people we spoke said they weren’t planning a party at all and, even for the people who were going to have one, a quarter of them said budget cuts meant it probably wouldn’t be as good as in past years.

We pointed a Christmas cracker at our group CEO, Simon Drakeford, told him it was a microphone* and asked him what he thought:

“Christmas parties are a great way to end the year on a high note, especially after such a tumultuous year as this one.  Employees and bosses all need the opportunity to unwind once in a while and a good party – big or small – can motivate staff, boost morale and help everyone relax.  However, it’s worth exercising a bit of restraint as our survey found that unwinding too much at the office party has created some embarrassing situations for many office workers.”

See – even Simon knows that the photocopiers need to be left alone for once. And, perhaps everyone should take a chill pill at this years party. 48% of the people we spoke to admitted to indiscretions such as snogging the boss or a colleague, getting sick or passing out from drinking too much, making inappropriate jokes or comments, speeches or toasts and even getting into arguments or fights.

I wonder what happened at office parties a couple of hundred years ago – did people end up on the cobbles duelling with flintlock pistols? Whatever it was, it’s unfortunate that the tradition of kicking off at Xmas seems to have continued. So, in the spirit of good business and good times, drink in moderation, eat a lot and dance even more at your Christmas party
*He didn’t believe it was a microphone. He just played along so as to not hurt our feelings.

PS. Our survey was conducted online from November 6 to November 16, 2009.

Results

How important is your work xmas party to you?
58%
I’m not really bothered – it’s an event where you can’t truly relax anyway.
42%
I think It’s really important & without it I would feel a little undervalued.
This poll closed on 01/01/2010

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