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Christmas bonus preferred over end of year party

Bonding vs bonus: National statistics show UK workforce is divided over end of year socials as financial pressure trumps two years of Christmas lockdowns

A national survey* has revealed a divide in sentiment towards end-of-year work parties among the UK workforce.

Resource Solution’s Workplace Christmas Benefits report reveals that only one in 10 (10%) believe it’s essential for their employer to arrange a party this year. The majority (53%) of UK workers do not feel their employer has a responsibility to arrange an end of year social, of which 15% have no interest in anything from their employer at the end of the year.

Christmas bonus preferred by majority of UK workers
As the cost-of-living crisis remains front of mind for employers and employees alike, businesses are faced with the quandary of deciding whether and how to bring colleagues together in an age of hybrid office/remote working.

Almost half (42%) of those who weren’t interested in a festive social event stated they would prefer a bonus or gift, highlighting the financial pressures felt across the UK. In fact, 18% of those that do not expect a party stated that they don’t believe it is financially viable for their employer.

Coral Bamgboye, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Robert Walter’s Group, the parent company of Resource Solutions, said: “Our data shows how valuable a bonus would be for the UK workforce this year. Employers need to be sensitive to the high living costs for their workforce, particularly during the winter months and the expenses that come with higher energy bills and family festivities. Before the pandemic, companies spent on average £257 per employee on Christmas events and gifts [1]. According to our survey, employees see end-of-year festivities less as a reward, and more a chance to bond with, or even meet their colleagues for the first time in person, so this year employers may consider more cost-effective ways to bring people together and offer a portion of this budget towards staff bonuses.”

Other reasons for not being interested in an end-of-year work party include, not celebrating Christmas (11%), not wanting to socialise with colleagues (34%), or preferring to arrange something with close colleagues (30%).

Colleague bonding is top motivator for work Christmas party
Of the 37%* that expect a party, team bonding and colleague relationships is the most important factor for two thirds (66%), indicating a high demand for human connection following two lockdown Christmases.

Kirsty Adams, Chief People & Culture Officer at Resource Solutions, said: “Of those that want a party, a staggering 91% of Gen Z crave the chance to bond with colleagues, possibly for the first time since joining the workforce. These results highlight the challenge this generation faces when attempting to build relationships with colleagues following years of pandemic restrictions, and the shift towards remote working.

“It’s also considered a great networking opportunity by many younger UK employees. 60% of Gen Z workers believe an end-of-year social gives them the chance to meet people in the company beyond their team, including senior employees, with the hope to make a good impression. Understandably, this figure drops to 18% of over 55-year-old employees, who are likely to have had more opportunities pre-pandemic to make connections at work and would instead appreciate a party as a form of reward. Based on this survey, it’s helpful for employers to consider that those at the start of their career are eager to make connections via in-person experiences as an integral part of their progression, at Christmas and throughout the year.”

Londoners are most eager for networking opportunity at festive party
Londoners are the most insistent on an end of year work event, as over two thirds (64%) feel strongly that their employers should arrange a party, versus just 21% in Yorkshire and the Humber. Meanwhile, 20% of employees in Scotland and in the West Midlands have no interest in receiving anything from their employer at the end of the year.

Top reasons regionally for not wanting a Christmas party:

  • 63% of workers in Northern Ireland would prefer a bonus
  • 42% in Scotland don’t care to socialise with colleagues
  • 24% in North East believe it’s not financially viable for employer

Kirsty adds: “Home to some of the UK’s largest multinational companies and HQs, the capital attracts career-driven talent, which is likely driving the demand for an end-of-year work social. The majority of Londoners that expect a work party (56%) recognise the networking opportunity that comes with it, including the chance the meet those beyond their immediate team and make an impression on senior employees. However as one of the most diverse cities in the world, it’s also unsurprising that almost a third (30%) of London workers stated not celebrating Christmas as the reason for not wanting an end-of-year work social. There are many ways to keep the festivities inclusive, and it’s important that this is appropriately considered and communicated for everyone in the company to look forward to.”

*Commissioned by Resource Solutions,

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