Seems like work

Is the holiday office party losing popularity? A new study suggests that it is

Would you rate your company's holiday get-together a "must-go" or "no-show" event? In a recent survey, 58 per cent of executives from leading Canadian businesses said they believe that over the past decade the annual office party has lost favour among employees.

The survey was developed by staffing firm OfficeTeam. The poll includes responses from 100 executives with Canada'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 - 6%
Somewhat more popular - 18%
Same/no change - 14%
Somewhat less popular - 38%
Much less popular - 20%
Don't have a party - 2%
Don't know/no answer - 2%

"In an effort to control expenditures, companies are hosting less extravagant holiday parties," said Lesley Gunn, branch manager of the Toronto OfficeTeam location. "Firms may find it challenging to plan a festive gathering that is both cost-effective and entertaining, but it can certainly be done. Asking for employees' input on the type of event they would like, for example, is one way to help ensure that the occasion is a
success."

Gunn offers the following tips for increasing the "fun quotient" at your next holiday party:

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.

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