Are Company Parties A Good Idea?

Posted on December 8, 2011.

Evidently more companies are reinstating the holiday party this year, according to a FINS Technology article.  Is that really a good idea? Apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't think so.  The same article says that 72% of employees would skip the party in favor of other perks.  I can completely understand that given the state of the economy, plus I have a few reasons of my own to be a Scrooge about holiday parties. Here are a few:

Do you really want to spend any more time with the people you work with? Don't get me wrong - I have always liked the people I worked with, but frankly I didn't want to spend any more of my time with them then I already did.  After 50+ hours a week with them, I really wanted to spend my free time with my family, or alone.

No matter how you do it, it always makes someone unhappy. Either the choice of venue, the menu, alcohol being served, alcohol not being served, or whether spouses and significant others are invited, or not, will disappoint someone.

Someone will behave badly. OK, this increases exponentially with the amount of alcohol being served, but I have seen teetotalers make career limiting mistakes at company parties. Some people let all their barriers down when they hear the word party, and those are the people whose misadventures will be retold every year, at every party.

I am not against having fun with your coworkers, nor do I have a problem with parties,but given the choice between a company party and some extra time off, or a small gift card, the party would be my last choice.  In my opinion there are better ways to show your appreciation for your employees that won't leave them hung-over and embarrassed.