Columnist image
Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Professionals aren’t necessarily counting down the days until their company shindig, according to a new survey.

More than one-quarter (28 per cent) of those polled in the survey conducted for staffing service company OfficeTeam described their holiday parties as “obligatory.”

The survey results included responses from more than 2,700 U.S. office workers 18 or older.

While you may be dreading your office holiday party this year, Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, says workers should not to skip out too fast.

“A holiday party is a time to build camaraderie with coworkers and visibility with executives you may otherwise not typically have exposure to,” she said. “Getting to know people on a more personal level can also make work more fun.”

Thirty-six per cent of those surveyed described holiday parties as entertaining – and a nearly equal percentage (35 per cent) gave these events a thumb’s down.

However, more people surveyed view holiday work events as optional (47 per cent), whereas just over one-quarter views them as obligatory (28 per cent).

Perhaps workers are feeling indifferent about their office parties because they may not be what they once were.

For example, black-tie galas and festive ice sculptures may be a thing of the past as only 16 per cent of workers polled said they’d categorize their office holiday parties as “extravagant.” Companies in the Big Apple hosts the most lavish soirees, the research found.

If you do decide to attend your holiday party this year, OfficeTeam offers some dos and don’ts for both employees and employers to keep in mind:


  • Mix and mingle. Socialize with coworkers outside your usual circle. These celebrations are an opportunity to meet people you don’t work with every day.
  • Get in the holiday spirit. Keep your discussions positive and upbeat. Avoid controversial topics such as politics.
  • Ask for input when planning your holiday party. Survey your staff to see how people want to celebrate. Feedback on venue, food and timing will get planning off to a good start.
  • Show appreciation to your staff. Celebrate your team, and give them their moment. By ceding the spotlight, you’ll show how much you appreciate their contributions.


  • Make it only about business. This is your chance to get to know colleagues in a social setting, so limit shoptalk. Conversation starters can include people’s holiday plans or New Year’s resolutions.
  • Drink too much. ‘Tis the season to party, but not too hard. Drink in moderation and remember holiday parties are still work functions.
  • Discuss confidential company information. It’s never appropriate to reveal confidential information about your company or coworkers.

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!