With the economy on the mend, more companies are in a merrymaking mood, reports Crain’s Lisa Fickenscher. In a national survey from executive search firm Battalia Winston, 96 percent of corporations this year are planning holiday parties for their employees. This compares with 91 percent in 2012 and 74 percent in 2011, the all-time low over the past 25 years. The best years for revelry were 1996 and 1997, when 97 percent of employers held holiday bases.
But don’t break out the Dom Perignon or Beluga just yet. “The worst is behind us but the parties are a lot more modest,” says Crain’s Dale Winston, CEO of the search firm. Apparently, even the swanky places in and around the Big Apple are being asked about discounts. Just 6 percent of those surveyed say they will spend more on their parties than they had last year, while 11 percent plan to spend less.
As might be expected financial services, advertising and fashion businesses have filled up the coveted locations first. The Waldorf and the Plaza hotels are fully booked. But such places are for those with deeper pockets than most. In some places, big entertainers are making a comeback.
Offering some advice to company party goers is Helen Sorrento of the Alternative Press: In a 2012 survey 79 percent of workplace parties were planning on serving alcohol. Becoming intoxicated at a workplace opens up oneself to acting in a manner that could get them in trouble. Drinking in moderation at an event helps you to maintain pleasant and appropriate workplace interactions, and reduces liability to the company and its employees.
If an employer is concerned about excessive use of alcohol, she advises that they can:
1. Limit the party to a few hours;
2. Serve plenty of food and end the service of alcohol 30 minutes prior to the end of the party; and
3. Invite spouses and significant others as people will usually behave more appropriately if they have accountability with them.
Another thing to keep in mind while attending workplace parties is how to dress. Business events are not the time to break out “club” attire. Find out beforehand what kind of dress is expected, getting dressed up and looking nice is perfectly acceptable, however avoid wearing revealing clothes or being under dressed.
Keep your conversations positive and avoid “talking business” all night. Leaving problems within your job at your job is important also. The company Christmas party is not the place to air your grievances and complaints to whoever will listen. Keep away from office gossip during holiday events and monopolizing conversations and speaking over others is another mistake often made during workplace socials. This can be a great opportunity however to introduce to new people and interact with your boss and co-workers with the stress of the job.