As the Government prepare to give an update on Covid-19 restrictions for the Christmas period later this week, new research has revealed that many workplaces have already abandoned plans for their festive celebrations this year.
The research carried out by e-recruitment platform IrishJobs.ie among 2,610 employees in Ireland found that 42% of workplaces will not host any form of Christmas party this year, with a further 10% postponing their plans for a workplace Christmas event until Covid restrictions have been lifted.
According to the research, 84% of workplaces typically host a Christmas party for employees every year. However, only 14% will host a party this festive season.
Of those who will host a workplace Christmas party this year:
- Nine per cent will host a virtual party
- Three per cent plan to have a party in the workplace under socially distanced guidelines
- Two per cent hope to secure a booking in a restaurant or pub in line with Government guidelines.
A total of 26% of employees do not know if their workplace will hold a Christmas party this year. While eight per cent say that they never host Christmas parties in work.
According to the research, almost eight in 10 employees consider workplace socialising to be an important aspect of their job.
However, when it comes to Christmas socialising this year, four in 10 employees think that it would be irresponsible to host a Christmas party given the current Covid risks. A total of 30% think it would be more trouble than it is worth given current restrictions and risks.
Workplace Socialising during Covid-19
Aside from Christmas parties, the research also suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a wider impact on workplace socialising levels for most workplaces.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 94% of workplaces held regular social events, with four in ten holding a social activity for employees at least once a quarter.
Throughout the pandemic, this has decreased significantly with 81% of employees saying that they no longer have any workplace social activities.
For those who have continued with workplace events, the large majority of these events have been online, with only 10% of employees stating that they’ve met with colleagues in person.
Respondents reported a very mixed experience of online social activities including Zoom calls, virtual quizzes and comedy shows with colleagues. According to the research;
- 20% of employees said they do not enjoy virtual workplace socialising
- 17% said they do enjoy virtual workplace socialising
- 12% said they enjoyed it at the beginning, but less so now
- 50% haven’t experienced a virtual workplace social event
“Workplace socialising, whether organised or informal, has always played a vital role in any high functioning organization. It allows colleagues to get to know each other outside of the traditional boundaries of job descriptions and deadlines, helps foster greater comradery and collaboration amongst staff, and typically goes hand in hand with a happier and more productive workplace," commented Orla Moran, General Manager at IrishJobs.ie, on the findings.
“2020 has obviously been an exceptionally challenging year on this front. Professionals have been unable to enjoy the simple rituals of a Friday evening drink with their colleagues or catch up over a coffee in the office canteen. Without these social outlets, staff can quickly feel disconnected or isolated from their colleagues.
“In the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown the novelty of working from home and video calls meant that there was at least an enthusiasm towards arranging after-work virtual quiz nights, drinks or even out of office chats.
“However, as lockdown restrictions have continued, the novelty of seeing faces on a screen has gradually worn off, making it much more difficult to create engaging workplace social events.
“As a result, it can be easy to neglect the social element of work both from an employer and an employee’s perspective – but what we must remember is the value and benefits that a simple get together can make in raising motivation and boosting morale amongst a team.
“This is particularly important as we approach the Christmas period. Workplace Christmas parties have always served as an important fixture in the professional calendar. Unfortunately, this year, the traditional Christmas party is no longer a viable option due to Covid restrictions.
“However, it is important that we continue to look for creative ways to overcome these practical challenges. Whether it is a virtual after work event, or a get together in a public space once Government guidelines allow, a conscious effort should be made to ensure that there is dedicated time allocated for workplace socialising in the weeks ahead to help boost morale and recognise the hard work and resilience of employees at the close of a uniquely challenging year.
“As we look towards 2021, early indications of successful Covid-19 vaccines help to remind us of the light at the end of the tunnel – and hopefully by this time next year we can all look forward to a well-deserved Christmas get together.”