The stereotypical image of a Christmas party is one of overindulgence, regrets, bad dancing and worse karaoke. But work Christmas parties are important for many reasons, and besides marking the anticipation of holidays and a break from work, Christmas parties serve some essential workplace functions.
Not many businesses have the resources to grant cash incentives or Christmas bonuses to their employees. By pooling resources together, however, smaller businesses can effectively reward their employees all at once with a Christmas party celebration. This is an effective way to mark and recognise contributions while also providing an anticipatory incentive to employees in the lead up to the day.
Yes, alcohol can grease the wheels of conversation and open new relationship pathways, but team building is a tremendously important part of business success. People who know each other through shared experience are more willing to work harder for each other and are more likely to seek help when needed. Not only this, but a greater understanding of the human resources available in the company means there is more likely to be a better usage of those resources and skills.
And while it might not be appropriate or healthy to engage alcohol as a regular social facilitator, the work Christmas party is a widely acceptable occasion for socialising over convivial drinks.
Connection to the community
One of the intangible benefits of throwing a Christmas party is its place in culture and tradition. By tapping into this shared experience of the festive season and everything it means to families and the community, employees are likely to feel engaged and a part of something greater than simply another day in the office.
Mixing business and pleasure
Many businesses now operate in a non-stop cycle, or are responsive to increased demand over the summer and holiday period. Holding a Christmas party either earlier in the year or well before Christmas Day is one solution to these demands, while another is to use the party as an opportunity to mix business with pleasure.
An increasing number of businesses do this by using the first half of the day to conduct meetings, hold recognition presentations, establish goals for the new year or map out strategies for the holiday period. After getting through the day’s business, they use the opportunity of being offsite to get the Christmas party celebrations underway.
Contribution to work culture
The above benefits combine in a cumulative way to contribute to healthy workplace culture. This is something that may seem intangible and hard to identify, but is one of the most essential parts of a successfully-run business.
If employees feel that their efforts are recognised, that they are treated and viewed as human beings who are allowed to express themselves, if they are given the opportunity to celebrate and socialise without impediment, chances are that your workplace culture will be healthy and your business can only benefit.