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Increase Productivity: Ditch Your Holiday Party

Thursday, December 22, 2011 by Slaughter Development

Increasing employee productivity is important all the time. But at the end of the year, we tend to put productivity aside for a tradition of a holiday party. Is throwing a company bash a good idea?

On the positive side, an annual gala can be loads of fun. People get together, dress up, enjoy good food and get to relax for an evening. Employees don’t have to open their wallets for a fancy night out. Workers may look forward to the event for weeks or months. Work can be fun. Perhaps that camaraderie will translate into increased productivity later.

Of course, holiday parties have drawbacks. If you want to increase productivity, it’s certainly not going to happen at the party itself. In fact, employee efficiency will probably drop before the event as people devote time to planning and preparation. According to one Indianapolis Human Resources firm, holiday affairs can also represent serious liabilities. Alcohol, toasts, risqué comments and gifts can lead to harassment. Having a good time comes with some risks.

So what is best for the company? A holiday party or no holiday party? Here’s an idea worth considering: what do the stakeholders think?

According to a 2003 study, people don’t care for holiday parties:

Nearly 70 per cent of workers polled said their offices throw Christmas parties.

When asked which they’d prefer, almost 72 per cent of employees interviewed by Workopolis indicated they’d rather receive the cash.

That data is not unique. Another analysis puts the number of people who’d rather skip the bash and get a bonus at a whopping 90%. One survey even showed that 37% people would rather have daily gourmet coffee or tea instead of the big event!

In summary, we’re not going to tell you that a yearly shindig is always a good idea or always a bad idea. Instead, you should do something which has more power to increase productivity and satisfaction than anything else: Ask your employees. Send out an anonymous survey. Do a quick poll. Distribute this blog post. Start a discussion.

Great organizations aren’t the ones that throw the best parties. They are the ones that truly engage their people. Try reaching out to yours. You might be surprised at what they have to say.

Happy holidays!

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

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Increase Productivity by 5% In One Day - Every company and every employee wants to be more productive. Are there actually easy things you can do to make a significant  productivity increase in only one day?
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Technique To Increase Productivity - Contemplating how to improve productivity in the workplace is certainly not uncommon. But when it comes to addressing it between employer and employee, it can be a sensitive topic of discussion. So is there a good way to broach the subject matter without creating tension or anxiety? Read on »
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3 Responses to “Increase Productivity: Ditch Your Holiday Party”

  1. Jennifer Riley Simone Says:

    I am unsure why more companies do not understand that bonuses, even small ones, would be more appreciated than yet another evening/day/hours at work. I think that many organizations view a holiday party as another team-building exercise. If this is the case, then the attendees are working and should be compensated. Your advice about asking the constituents is sound. I may not speak for the majority - maybe most of my coworkers would never give up the holiday party. It’ s time to find out.

  2. Robby Slaughter Says:

    Thanks for your comment Jennifer!

    There are two factors here that I want to highlight: First, that employers assume that they know what’s best for their employees, and second, that employers fail to ask people what they want!

    It’s no surprise there is so much opportunity to increase productivity given these realizations!

  3. Cali Ressler Says:

    Exactly, Robby! Let the employees decide.

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