Bring back the Christmas party!

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MY HOUSE — Last week the BBC got lots of press for scrapping the last remnants of the company Christmas parties. As you might imagine, no one really complained. Except the staff.

“It’s OUR money!” You can hear the average punter saying. “What are they doing going out and spending it on puddings and party hats!?”

And yet, how do you reconcile that with today’s report that the demand for ‘edible gold’ is up… a very high end catering option… while estimates are that almost 1/3 of the annual spend on holiday events has been eliminated. The FPB who represent chefs, caterers and florists say that one in five company parties have been cancelled.

And it doesn’t sound like it’s the poshest parties that have been cancelled.

Instead businesses like the BBC, the Royal Mail and British Airways, who are all under the kosh from the public and their customers have probably all gone scrooge-like. No question that the Royal Mail is under a strike action and BA has one pending — just in time for Christmas. And I don’t actually know their party plans.

What I do know is that Christmas parties are a heck of a lot cheaper than pay rises. They’re also cheaper than bonus pools, or stock options, or benefits programmes.

All of these things have been hit by poor trading conditions, rising investor demands, and management teams that do not know what is happening, so they are cutting people, programmes, pay, working hours and… Christmas parties.

As far as benefits go however, the company Christmas party has got to be one of the cheapest ways of showing appreciation, building camaraderie and letting off some steam. No employee would really appreciate it as much if you gave them £50 and said “Thanks for all your hard work this year, Wilson.”

Let us have some puddings and party hats. And let’s hope that bonuses, benefits, pay rises and full-time work won’t be far behind.

/df



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