Three-quarters of workers would rather their organisations committed to an investment in wellbeing, rather than spending money on a Christmas party, according to research by consultancy Shine Workplace Wellbeing.
The online survey of 312 employees, conducted in November 2018, asked respondents if they would rather their employer allocate £100 towards a Christmas party or their health and wellbeing over the coming months.
Three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed chose wellbeing supports, such as gym and sports memberships, yoga classes, in-office talks on mindfulness and mental health awareness, and free fruit in the office, in preference to an all-expenses-paid Christmas party covering drinks, food, entertainment and transport.
Matthew Carlton, founder of Shine Workplace Wellbeing, said: “The preference for wellbeing might surprise some, but there’s a real trend in terms of workers wanting their employers to support their wellbeing in order to help them cope with the stresses of business and personal life.”
He added: “Many employers, particularly in SMEs, believe that introducing employee wellbeing policies will be expensive. This is not the case. Even an allocation of £100 per worker can provide a good level of physical and mental wellbeing support throughout the year, such as by contributing to the cost of training for a mental health first aider, regular wellbeing workshops, and initiatives to improve physical health.”
Women were the biggest advocates of wellbeing support, with 80% in favour compared with 67% of men. The survey showed consistency across age groups, and while the party was most popular in the 18 to 24-year-old demographic, it was still only chosen by 30% of respondents in that category.
Those working in education were the most likely to opt for wellbeing over a party (82%), while those in the construction industry preferred the Christmas celebration (57%). Seven out of 10 (70%) respondents working in marketing chose wellbeing, while 60% of those in IT made the same choice.
Carlton said: “We are certainly not saying that Christmas parties should be scrapped. However, rather than relying on one major annual event to boost employee morale, organisations should think about how they could invest in ongoing initiatives that make employees feel appreciated and supported for a prolonged period.”