The office holiday party is back in a big way. More than half of companies responding to a new survey are having in-person holiday parties this year, up from 26.6% last year and 5.3% who held in-person parties in 2020.
Another 2% plan to host virtual events this year, down from 7% in 2021 and 17% in 2020. Nearly 6% of companies say they already held in-person gatherings outside, during warm weather this year in lieu of holding year-end celebrations.
Of companies holding in-person events during the holiday season, 4% will modify their events due to Covid. Half of these companies are still not sure what the modifications will be, while 30% will encourage hand washing and hygiene, and a quarter will limit the number of attendees. No one says they’ll require masks or hold the event outside. Pre-pandemic, the numbers were: 75% of companies hosted parties in 2019, while 65% did so in 2018.
Spending on Holiday Celebrations Up Too
This year, many companies are in a celebratory mood, including those in airlines and aerospace, car makers, business support and logistics, education, and food and beverage sectors. Despite some economic uncertainty, companies are spending on the annual holiday party: Thirty-seven percent will maintain their budgets, while 16% plan to spend more. Six percent will spend less.
“The holiday party has always been a way for companies to show their teams they value them,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. which conducted the survey. “Creating a space for employees to have fun together bolsters morale and connection to their employers and their work, so it really is an important retention and leadership tool for employers.”
It may be easier to connect with colleagues at this year’s holiday party as companies are reimaging it as a smaller, team-only gathering focused on bonding. Challenger’s advice for party-goers: “Spend lots of time connecting with people from different departments that you might not Zoom with day in and day out. It’s a great time to meet your boss’ boss’ boss; move up in the organization.”
Before You Go: Brush Up on Etiquette
Whether you’ve been to your share of company parties in your career or you’re a new hire and it’s your first time, it’s helpful to review some quick tips for celebrating with your work colleagues and manager:
Respond to the invitation promptly.
If leadership asks for volunteers, VOLUNTEER! You'll get to know more people.
Show up if you indicated that you will be attending—it’s polite.
Introduce yourself to colleagues in other departments and company leaders.
Talk to people! If you connect, follow up later, even if it's only with a LinkedIn invite.
Don't overshare on social media. In fact, put your phone away!
Thank the organizers for putting together the party.
Generally, these tips apply also to virtual parties
If the event you’re invited to is online, it’s a good idea to follow these guidelines as well:
Join the party from a quieter area of the house and check the internet connection. Be sure it’s strong.
Five or ten minutes before the party starts, log on, find the meeting link, test your camera, microphone, and internet speed, and make sure you are ready to go. Have the contact info handy for urgent technical support.
Tempting as it may be, multitasking prevents you from fully enjoying the event. When your attention is elsewhere, you are not present with your colleagues.
Interact in chat and breakout rooms--the chat box and breakout rooms can simulate small group dynamics that make traditional parties intimate.
Our advice to you: Whether you’re invited to a virtual, in-person or hybrid. gathering, go! You work hard and deserve this opportunity to celebrate with your colleagues and leadership. Follow these simple guidelines and have fun!