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The Truth Behind the Office Holiday Party: Employees Speak Out

The Truth Behind the Office Holiday Party: Employees Speak Out

The OfficeThat’s right folks: December is here and that means holiday planning is in full force. If shopping, wrapping, and inexplicably wanting a peppermint mocha everyday weren’t enough…well, many of us will also be taking part in the ever-exciting (or dreaded) workplace holiday celebrations.

And at SurveyMonkey we’re a festive bunch—so it got us wondering if other workplaces celebrate the holidays, how they celebrate, and what their employees really think about office holiday parties.

Using SurveyMonkey Audience, we reached out to 400 employed Americans between the ages of 22 and 60+ to find out.

Most are celebrating…but many aren’t feeling too merry

The break room is suddenly covered in treats and holiday-flavored creamer. And whether you’re singing the praises of holiday workplace cheer, or trying to hide under your desk and mumbling grinch-like expletives, there’s no escaping it. At least, that’s what we found in our survey:

  • 74% of respondents celebrate the holidays at their workplace
  • The majority of the offices that celebrate have an offsite holiday party (44%) or office holiday lunch (40%)
  • However, 58% are ho-hum about holiday celebrations, only enjoying holiday parties a little to moderate amount

There were those who gave a big “Bah, humbug!” when it comes to celebrating the holidays in the workplace. In addition to the 58% who are not-so-enthused about celebrating, 14% of employees said that they do not like celebrating the holidays at work at all.

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Of the options given, most employees said that they spend enough time with their coworkers already (45%), or they’d prefer to not have to spend their hard-earned cash in order to participate in the celebration (40%). And the top 3 write-in responses as to why employees say they avoid office holiday celebrations?

  1. Poor morale amongst employees
  2. Religious reasons
  3. Would prefer bonus over celebration

On the other side of the gelt, when we asked respondents to name their favorite thing about celebrating the holidays at work, most wrote in that it was a fun time to mingle with co-workers, it was a nice break from their work, and of course…the food!

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Who’s getting a little too punchy at the holiday party?

Looks like some employees are taking the holiday merriment a little too far. But for most, a little eggnog or spiced rum at the holiday party is a no-go: Only 32% of workplaces provide alcoholic beverages at their holiday parties.

However we did find that younger employees (22-29) tend to work for companies that provide alcohol. Also, employees aged 60+, tended not to have adult beverages offered at their parties.

Does your workplace provide...

Of the companies that let their employees have a bit of boozy fun, the majority also provide an open bar. East Coast companies are the most likely to liquor up their employees for free, followed by the Pacific region. And most employees are happy to take their employers up on that offer, with 53% respondents reporting that they’ll get jolly on a cocktail (or two). Luckily, most folks (81%) are smart enough to keep it at that, and have not gotten drunk in front of their boss.

How often do you get drunk?

Holiday parties and office culture—cheer or jeer?

And if you’re wondering if employees think that holiday celebrations improve morale. Well, not so much. 30% think it does improve morale a moderate amount, but the rest of employees fall on either side of the line, with 32% feeling it improves morale a lot/a great deal, and more (39%) saying a little bit/not at all.

Perhaps the reason why the majority are feeling meh to not at all impressed with the impact of workplace celebrations on moral is that nearly two-thirds say they feel some sort of pressure from their manager or colleagues to attend workplace functions. Eek! So next time you ask your coworker if they’re coming along, maybe instead of a “You’re no fun!” give them an “Okay, have a great one!”

How does your workplace celebrate the holidays? Are you into holiday cheer or holiday jeer? Let us know in the Comments below. And whether you plan to deck the halls of your workplace, or spend more time with your loved ones, we hope you have a fantastic holiday season!

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