Half of SMEs cancel Christmas party - regardless of damaging staff morale

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Almost half of small or medium employers are not planning a Christmas party this year and 91% of the businesses that are, will spend the same or less than last year, according to a survey by Pitney Bowes.

Despite this, 63% of the 500 SMEs questioned recognise that cutting back or cancelling Christmas parties damage staff morale.

Recent tough times were blamed for a decline in Christmas related activities over the past few years (41%).

Of those intending to have a Christmas bash, the average spend per head will be £43.80.

The research also showed that a third of businesses (30%) are introducing new, leaner measures this year to make sure they run smoothly over Christmas. New initiatives planned involve having skeleton teams in place or key people on call 24/7, in an effort to run more efficiently but not shut down completely.

On the other hand, 35% of SMEs will be closing for Christmas, believing their staff deserve a good rest.

"Controlling costs is always important, but staff Christmas parties are a valuable way of showing recognition and appreciation of your employees," said Phil McCabe, senior policy adviser at the Forum of Private Business. "In turn, good employee engagement delivers bottom line results. Choosing not to recognise staff at Christmas could have a negative effect on morale and therefore productivity so companies need to introduce other ways of motivating - it doesn't have to be costly."

But separate data from events company Office Christmas found employers are still splashing the cash on Christmas with 70% planning themed parties this year, with ideas such as 'the chocolate factory' and 'Viva Vegas' superseding traditional themes along the lines of 'winter wonderland'.

 

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