Two-thirds of people say they’re not looking forward to their office Christmas party

It was once the case that staff would eagerly anticipate their Christmas party, counting down the seconds until they could throw some tinsel in their hair, wrap their tie around their head and tell their boss what they really think.However, as it turns out, those days may be coming to an end. A recent survey conducted by DBI Furniture Solutions revealed that 2 in 3 people aren’t excited for this year’s festive shindig.When asked “Are you looking forward to your Christmas party this year?”, only 32% of respondents said that they were looking forward to it, with 45% saying they were unsure about it and 23% admitting that they were actually dreading it.

Demographic differences

Men were less likely to get excited by the prospect of the Christmas party than women. Only 27% of men who were asked said they were looking forward to their annual party, compared with 37% of women.The Christmas party also proved far less popular with older groups than it did with younger people. 43% of 18-24s said that they were excited about partying with their workmates, while only 19% of respondents aged over 65 said they were looking forward to the celebrations

Why the ‘bah humbug’?

This new research poses a challenge to UK businesses, who collectively spend a staggering £1bn a year on Christmas parties every year. Though everyone will have their own reasons why they may dreading the office Christmas party, typical complaints include poor venue choices, having to spend time with co-workers they feel they can’t relax around, and — of course — the risk of getting drunk in front of the boss. Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of DBI, said that the negative feelings many employees have about office parties present an opportunity for businesses to think outside the box and turn their employees’ opinions around.“A lot of the time, businesses make some costly mistakes when it comes to organising the annual Christmas party. There’s a delicate balance to be struck: while you risk boring your staff by going for the same venue with the same decor every single time, you also need to be considerate of their tastes.“The best office parties are the product of healthy collaboration between an employer and their employees. Whatever the theme, venue or entertainment, it’ll always be a success if it’s centred around giving your staff a genuine, personalised ‘thank you’ for the year of hard work they’ve put in for the business.”

5 ways you can make your Christmas party a success

1. Ask how last year’s party went

The first thing you need to do when planning for a Christmas party is to find out what your employees liked and — more importantly — didn’t like about last year’s party. Was the venue too far away? Was the food bad? Did they wish the magician could have made himself disappear?Put together a quick survey to gather some learnings and apply them when you plan this year’s party.

2. Get the venue right

The venue you decide on for your Christmas party says a lot to your staff. Going to the same venue every year leaves staff feeling like they haven’t really been thought about; instead, the company goes for the ‘safe’ option to save time and money.Keep venues fresh while minimising the risk of getting it wrong by asking your employees for some venue ideas. However, you need to make sure you take into account the size of your team when considering suggestions. Booking out a small restaurant isn’t a good idea for a team of 100 while hiring out a yacht for your six-person marketing team is just wasteful.Get a Christmas committee together that’s made up of people from different departments. It’ll help make planning easier and satisfy the party requests of your team

3. Break the ice

The size of your company will often dictate how long it takes for your staff to properly unwind once they arrive at the party. A great way to break the ice is with some interactive entertainment: games you can quickly play with someone else, like Jenga or table tennis, or hold a quiz with mixed teams get people talking quickly. It’ll certainly take the pressure off those introductory conversations!.

4. Feed them well

Open bars are great, but free drinks and empty stomachs are a recipe for disaster. Make sure that there is good food available to your staff at different points throughout the night: don’t just wait for the meal. Start the evening with canapes and bring out sandwiches for the people still partying come midnight. Oh, and make sure there are plenty of soft drinks for non-drinkers and designated drivers, too. They should feel as included as anyone else.

5. Make it easy for them

If your venue is a little further afield, think about arranging some transport or even booking out a few hotel rooms so your staff don’t have to worry about how they’ll get home. Not only does this show your employees that you genuinely care about having them present, but it’s also likely to stop people from checking their watches and instead have a genuinely good time.

Bringing the party to the office

Perhaps you don’t have the budget for a big Christmas party this year. In which case, the office party could be just that: a party at your office. If you’re planning on celebrating at the office, think about how you can make the place feel a little more relaxed to help employees let their hair down. Having a designated and well-furnished breakout area can help staff feel relaxed, while multi-purpose furniture means you can change up your space on the fly. For more ideas, visit DBI Furniture Solutions.