November 18, 2011 - Anonymous
Almost half of small firms are scrapping their Christmas party this year, research by Pitney Bowes has found.
Of the 500 small businesses questioned by the business solutions firm, 63 per cent said they realised that scaling back on festivities would damage staff morale, but felt they had no choice but to cut costs.
Among those still going ahead with a Christmas bash, nine out of ten were sticking to the same budget as last year – with an average spend of £43 a head.
Sara Lee, spokeswoman at the Federation of Small Businesses said it was not surprising that many small firms were cutting back on parties over the festive period.
“Employers recognise that a staff get-together is good for motivation, especially after a tough year, but in the current climate it’s probably not a priority for many firms,” she said.
Most staff “were likely to be understanding” if bosses were trying to save money, Lee added.
“Employees in small firms are typically close to the coalface and they tend to know how well the business is doing,” she said. “In many cases, staff won’t be surprised to find out that the traditional Christmas do isn’t happening this year.”
Angela Baron, adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said a Christmas gathering could “bring everyone together, encourage communication and foster a more positive culture – especially in a time of no or low pay rises when people are feeling under pressure.”
“But employers looking to hold an event should be careful how they position them,” she added. “Customers won’t take too kindly to big booze-ups or news of lavish events. A party shouldn’t be the only time when employees receive thanks for a good job either.”
If budgets were tight, asking staff to bring their own refreshments or simply holding an informal get together rather than a big party could be an option, said Baron, while even small tokens such as donating a prize for a festive quiz would be appreciated.
However, she added that those forced to cancel an annual bash this year should let staff know well in advance to avoid disappointment and minimise low morale.