Scrooge mentality grips UK, survey says

24 December 2007

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According to a recently published survey, Christmas cheer was missing from many organisations, certainly in the construction sector, this year as festive celebrations were overshadowed by a scrooge mentality, resentment of forced partying and an inability to unwind.

But what about where you are? How did the lifting business celebrate the Christmas party season?

The Chartered Management Institute's annual 'Christmas Outlook' survey revealed a decline in the number of organisations in the sector holding staff Christmas parties. Although 76% planned to host events, the proportion has fallen from a height of 86% in 2002.

A growing amount of organisations in construction also refused to pay for seasonal celebrations. This year, 23% were expected to make no financial contribution to office parties. In terms of region, employers in the UK's West Midlands are the least generous with only 48% funding celebrations.

The survey shows that 1 in 10 in the sector believe Christmas celebrations are 'a chore'.  Key findings include:

- Artificial ambience: 58% in construction believe that the atmosphere at workplace end-of-year parties can be forced.  Many suggest that parties would 'be better if partners were included' (78%) and 1 in 3 respondents also claim there is too much 'political correctness'.

- Party hangover: 45% in the sector think that the party season 'has become too long' and 82% suggest it is now 'too commercial'.  Although one-third (36%) claim to 'enjoy the office festivities', some respondents (7%) also say they are 'a waste of time'.

Despite 66% agreeing that Christmas parties create a better working environment, only 31% of organisations in construction try to encourage a relaxed atmosphere at this time of year. Work is also still the dominant thought with just 1 in 5 employers intending to give time off without it counting against holiday entitlement and 44% of respondents plan to work during the break.

Merry Christmas!

Seriously though, to all those who celebrate it, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and colleagues a great day tomorrow and all the best for the remainder of this and next year.

I'm off to cook the turkey,

Richard Howes, Editor