Lovewell’s logic: Is it too soon to mention *whisper* Christmas?

Debbie Lovewell Tuck Editor Employee BenefitsNow that Halloween and Guy Fawkes celebrations have passed, my thoughts have inevitably turned to Christmas. I have always loved this time of year, but for some reason, this year my festive spirit seems to have arrived much earlier than usual and I am now excitedly planning for, and looking forward to, the run up to the season.

Many employers will already have also embarked on plans for the festive season. Post-Covid, Christmas parties are firmly back on the agenda for many, giving staff the opportunity to get together and celebrate. But, at a time when the cost-of-living crisis means money is tight for many, and peoples’ lives seem to be busier than ever, what do employees really want from their employer over the festive season? Has the large-scale Christmas party had its day, as employees look for smaller, team-based celebrations or even alternative incentives?

According to research by recruitment and employment technology firm Career Wallet published this week, the majority (91%) of employees under the age of 35 would prefer their employer to use Christmas party budgets on awarding bonuses instead. Christmas parties also appear to have fallen out of favour more widely across the workforce, with 10% of respondents claiming it was one of the things they liked least about their jobs.

It would be interesting to see how these opinions compare to employees’ pre-pandemic views. Particularly in organisations that have moved to a remote or hybrid-working model, has this altered how keen staff are to meet up and socialise with colleagues? Personally, as a remote worker, I always value the opportunity to do so, but this will not be the case for everyone.

Based on research by corporate experience firm Avva Experience, it seems that employers are particularly keen to engage remote workers with festive celebrations. Its study of more than 200 organisations found that employers were looking to spend an average of £58 per head on virtual festive celebrations, compared to £24 per head on events earlier in the year.

Of course, such statistics are just a snapshot and, as with everything, employers will not be able to cater to, or please, everyone. Whatever you choose to do for employees at this time of year, key to its success will be ensuring all staff feel included regardless of their culture and religious beliefs.

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Whatever option you choose, here’s hoping your festive celebrations go with a bang.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Tweet: @DebbieLovewell