Wednesday 18 December 2019 5:21 am

DEBATE: Is the office Christmas party actually worth it?

Emma Long is commercial director of BizSpace
Leon Emirali

Is the office Christmas party actually worth it?

Emma Long, commercial director of BizSpace, says YES.

Primarily, the office Christmas party is a chance for employers to say thank you to staff, and for employees to reflect on and celebrate the successes of the year.

They enable colleagues from different teams and at all levels to socialise, facilitating better communication across the business. In a relaxed social environment, staff might also be more likely to raise any festering workplace issues, allowing managers to find a resolution, and perhaps hold on to wavering employees.

For 18 per cent of workers, the Christmas party is actually the highlight of the working year. Discussed for weeks afterwards, these parties boost staff morale and impact how employees view their bosses.

Ideally, office Christmas parties should involve an activity, making conversation between unfamiliar colleagues flow more easily and meaning non-drinkers aren’t left out. And obviously ensure that all dietary requirements are catered for, and that staff can get home safely from your venue.

A good Christmas party boosts employee engagement, ultimately enabling businesses to thrive. Seen in this light, these parties are essential to business success.

Leon Emirali, an entrepreneur and adviser, says NO.

From drinks with friends to dinners with family, diaries are notoriously jammed in December. Then comes the work Christmas party: an evening defined by dull small talk with Ian from accounts and desperately trying to act sober in front of your boss.

No one enjoys it, so why do we persevere?

Under the influence of Christmas cheer, bubbling office romances can reach boiling point and simmering resentment has the potential to morph into full-blown fisticuffs. The morning after the Christmas party is guaranteed to be an awkward affair as the drunken “I love you mate” turns into a very sober “that report is due in 30 minutes”.

In the social media age, debauchery stays around forever. A photo of the boss with a pair of pants on her head and doing a shot of tequila is likely to undermine authority in any industry.

For those who genuinely enjoy the company of their colleagues, go ahead and have a Christmas drink. But spare everyone else the awkwardness.

Instead, employers would be better off taking the cash they spend on the party and offering their staff a hard-earned Christmas bonus. Bah humbug.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Share