Jon Noonan is group sales director at the Eventist Group.
I was reading an opinion piece in C&IT magazine recently, entitled ‘Christmas parties are no longer relevant’ (online version here), which suggested that the time had come to put the idea of the Christmas party to bed and that the changing nature of the workforce meant that it was an antiquated idea, not fit for the 21st century.
As a Christmas party provider, with more than 200,000 guests due to experience one of our parties this festival period, it will probably come as no surprise that we at the Eventist Group disagree with this sentiment.
We believe there is no better way to reward employees for their hard work throughout the year, than through a party where everyone can get together, celebrate achievements (both personal and professional), and have the opportunity to let their hair down and enjoy themselves. Let me explain why.
In today’s hyper-connected, always-on working culture, having a period for reflection and assessment is incredibly important. Often, employees will focus on what went wrong throughout the year and the challenges that they faced or the long hours they have worked. However, a pragmatic employer will build in to the Christmas party a significant element of reward, highlighting the hard work of their staff and business success that has been won in the previous 12 months.
Additionally, the opportunity to socialise in a non-traditional environment is also a great way to break down any barriers that may exist in your organisation and bring together people who may not know each other or may not have spoken previously, all without the pressures of work bearing down upon them. Ultimately, this will help lead to better communication processes and working relationships within your company.
The seriousness of a company in its preparations for the office party has a major impact on the staff’s perception of how much their employers care for their welfare. A well-thought out, planned event can create a positive buzz throughout the office for weeks before and after.
We agree that the traditional office Christmas party is not always relevant for the 21st century. However, employers up and down the country continue to recognise the value and importance of offering an end of year teambuilding exercise that is inclusive, entertaining and will set employees up to hit the ground running in the New Year.
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