Small Businesses Can’t Afford Christmas Party this Year

The majority of small firms have decided to ditch the Christmas party this year because they can’t afford it, research by Sage has highlighted.

Fewer than half were planning to hold a festive bash this year due to lack of funds, according to the poll of 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), even though 70 per cent believed they were good for morale.

But according to HR consultancy Croner, many staff “dreaded the annual festivities” and would prefer time off instead of a works do, or a small gift such as vouchers.

“Not everyone wants to be forced to socialise with their work colleagues, while others don’t want to risk getting drunk in front of their manager,”

said Croner spokeswoman Clare Moore.

“So even if you’ve got the budget, it could end up being a waste of money.”

Small-business owners could think of other ways of thanking or rewarding staff for their hard work which might be more appreciated, she added.

“Alternatively, granting staff an extra day’s holiday between Christmas and New Year, for instance ― could be good for morale,” said Moore.

Dan Mellor, managing director at design agency Bliink, said that employers needed to think about “what their staff actually wanted” when it came to planning an event.

“In our agency, for example, we’re all quite laid back and informal so something like a very smart black tie do wouldn’t feel right. There’s no point spending a lot of money if people don’t enjoy it.”

For small businesses going ahead with a party, negotiating with local businesses on menus or entertainment could save money, added Mellor, while being flexible on dates or times could also help bring down costs.

“This year, we’ve managed to get a hefty discount on both the food and wine for our staff meal, because we’ve taken a late afternoon sitting rather than an evening slot, while last year we held our Christmas party in January which made things much cheaper.”

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