Bah humbug: UK execs reject Christmas cheer at work

Christmas cheer has no place at work according to UK executives, with many claiming that office parties are hard work, disruptive and dull.

The findings, revealed in a survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), show that the ‘spirit of goodwill’ no longer extends to the workplace as employees reject traditional ways of marking the seasonÍs celebrations with colleagues.

Key findings were:

– Party-poopers: only 61 per cent claim to have an office party compared with 86 per cent in 2002. One in 10 suggest the reason is ïa lack of enthusiasmÍ, with 20 per cent admitting Christmas celebrations are a chore

– Christmas chaos: 37 per cent of those questioned said seasonal festivities created problems because colleagues or clients were inaccessible. With 63 per cent of respondents away from work for four days or more, complaints centred on problems with payments (17 per cent) and staff shortages (30 per cent)

– Ghost of Christmas presents: a mere 11 per cent say they give gifts to colleagues, down from 23 per cent in 2003. ‘Secret Santa’ will also be climbing down fewer workplace chimneys this year, with only one in five organisations running mystery gift schemes, compared with one in four a year ago

– Yuletide Yawn: the UK’s executives suggest that Christmas celebrations drag on too long (47 per cent) and 35 per cent say they are disruptive (compared with 21 per cent in 2003). Only 15 per cent want to entertain key business contacts, with few believing the celebrations improve morale.

Petra Cook, head of policy at the CMI, said: “The idea that Christmas creates pressure and tension in the workplace is worrying, particularly as it has traditionally been seen as a time to reward staff for the hard work they do during the year.”

However, the survey revealed that Britain’s executives were not rejecting Christmas completely. Almost 20 per cent see the festive period as a chance to ‘recharge their batteries’, and 45 per cent said it is also a chance to see friends and family.

Cook adds: “It’s important that instead of focusing on what people donÍt want to do, managers take the time to find out what their staff want. After all, environments where the emphasis is on ïall work and no playÍ are unlikely to be energetic and productive.”


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