Posted November 22, 2011 by

Survey: Attendance Optional at Company Holiday Party, Most Executives Say

It will soon be that time of year again for the holiday office party.

Will skipping the holiday party at work land you on the boss’s “naughty list”? Not necessarily, according to a new OfficeTeam survey. More than six in 10 (61 percent) executives whose companies host holiday parties said there’s no unwritten rule requiring employees to attend. But that doesn’t mean staff should miss out on the merriment: Thirty-eight percent of respondents indicated that making an appearance is expected.

Managers whose companies host holiday celebrations were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “It is an unwritten rule that employees should make an appearance at the holiday party.” Their responses*:

Disagree………………….………………………………………………….   61%

Agree…………………….…………………………………………………..   38%

Don’t know/no answer……………………………………………………..     1%

Managers also were asked, “In which of the following ways does your company typically celebrate the holidays?” Their responses*:

Off-site party…………………….…………………………………………..   41%

On-site party/luncheon…………….………………………………………   31%

Office decorations……………….………………………………………….   20%

Informal gift exchange………………….………………………………….   17%

Our company does not host holiday celebrations……………………   16%

“Although many executives take a casual approach to holiday festivities and aren’t concerned about attendance, some managers pay attention to who shows up,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Office parties come in a variety of forms, but nearly all offer the opportunity to get to know colleagues and executives on a more personal level, which can make work a little more pleasant and productive year round.”

These are five tips for making the most of the company holiday party:

1.     Mix it up. Mingle with coworkers outside your usual circle.

2.     Work the room. Try not to monopolize anyone’s time. Shorter chats allow you to meet more people.

3.     Limit shoptalk. Don’t focus on business the whole time. Come with conversation starters in mind, such as people’s holiday plans or New Year’s resolutions.

4.     Don’t be a grinch. Keep your discussions positive and upbeat. No one wants to listen to complaints. Avoid controversial topics such as politics, too.

5.     End on a high note. Show your appreciation to the host and others who worked on the event by thanking them in person or sending an email afterward. 

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