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Raise your glasses! 79% of office Christmas parties will be held in person this year

Some 79% of office Christmas parties are scheduled to be held in person this year, something which rendered all but impossible because of peak Covid levels last festive season.

The news comes via a survey of 1,000 UK office workers by outsourced communications provider Moneypenny to determine how office Christmas party planning has altered. It revealed how more than one-third, (36%) of employers are planning to host a Christmas party this year.

This is in direct contrast to last year, when an initial survey by Moneypenny, again of 1,000 workers, showed how more than one-quarter (26%) of all festivities were shifted to the online and remote variety. This proportion was significantly higher among workers aged 18 to 24 at more than half (54%), with that number decreasing as the age range increased.

The survey findings showed how a mere 8% of all parties are intended to be hosted online and 10% will embrace the hybrid model of a blended in-person and digital-based event, which, if executed well, aims to create an equally festive experience for everyone involved, no matter where they are.

However, some employers are still playing it safe, with 37% deciding against having a party all together, which is somewhat understandable during what are still uncertain times.

The age bracket of employees most likely to attend a party are those aged 18 to 24 at 54%, followed by 25 to 34-year-olds at 48%, with those aged 55+ lagging behind at 23%.

When exploring gender differences, 37% of women will get to put on their glad rags and attend a party, compared to 34% of men. Again, more women than men (80% compared to 77%) will be treated to the in-person experience. 12% of men will log in for their Christmas party, versus just 5% of women.

The region fighting it out for the most parties is the South West (40%), while bottom of the list was Scotland (23%).

But when there is a party to be had, people are willing to go the extra mile to make up for last year, with 17% saying that this year’s event will be ‘much bigger’ than usual.

The region expected to host the biggest parties is the West Midlands (19%) and the region most likely to reduce the size of their event is East Midlands (29%).

Across the board, 41% of employers are sticking to their guns and hosting the same size party as usual and just 8% are prepared to dial down the scale.

However, employees are respecting Covid restrictions, with 31% saying they will refuse admission for people displaying symptoms. Meanwhile, 30% will be asked to use hand sanitiser before entering the party, 24% will have to take a lateral flow test, 21% will have social distancing in place and will expect to see a negative PCR result and 17% of people will be required to don a face mask. 13% say no Covid restrictions will be put into place.

The primary reason, unsurprisingly, for not planning a Christmas party at all this winter is the pandemic (36%), budget was 12%, a charitable donation 5% and 4% of employers are doing a surprise laden Secret Santa instead.