Christmas office party on the chopping block

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As many Canadian organizations continue to grapple with tight budgets, end-of-year celebrations are on the chopping block. Some have scaled back office parties, others have cancelled them altogether.

A new survey commissioned by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has revealed that nearly four in ten (39%) organisations aren't hosting a party this year.

Of those who typically do have a celebration, more than half (56%) of respondents said they would be understanding if they found out that spending for this year's office holiday party was being scaled back or cancelled altogether due to economic concerns.

“Whether this year has been good or bad for your organization, the holidays are a key time for recognizing hard work and thanking employees for a job well done," Claude Balthazard, vice president, regulatory affairs and registrar, HRPA said. “But that doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a lavish party. It's the thought that counts,” he added.

Quebec-based respondents indicated their organisations would be the most likely to continue the end-of-year office party tradition – 64% indicated their organisations will be hosting a party of some kind. The likelihood of workplace parties in Ontario, Alberta and the Atlantic region (56, 50, and 47% respectively) was lower.

However younger workers aren’t happy about losing the annual celebration. One if five (19%) of Gen Y respondents said they would be disappointed, indicating that an end-of-year party is a tradition and something that everyone in an organisation anticipates.

A small percentage of respondents (4%) said they would be downright angry, indicating that employers should absorb the costs.

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