The Christmas party has been a time-served tradition for companies all over the UK for many years now, but new research has revealed this annual occasion is falling out of favour with employees.


Perkbox, the UK’s fastest growing employee benefits platform, polled 1,000 UK workers in The Most Generous Time of the Year study and found that more than 1 in 4 (29%) don’t actually enjoy their work Christmas party.


Interestingly, the top three reasons why are all down to the social element of this annual event.


More than 1 in 3 (34%) report they don’t enjoy socialising with their colleagues at the Christmas party.


For some, the social element can be intimidating, as a similar number (30%) said they find Christmas parties too cliquey.


While more than 1 in 4 (27%) of those who said they aren’t keen on work Christmas parties said it was because they don’t believe in fun being forced on the company by management.


Interestingly for bosses, when workers were asked what they would prefer to do instead of a Christmas party if they had the choice, activities within closer-knit groups proved popular – more than 1 in 5 (23%) saying they would like a meal with their immediate team.


This was followed by 7% who would like to do a daytime activity with their team.


The same number said they would prefer a night out with their direct colleagues rather than attending a Christmas party with the whole company.


In fact, all age groups said they would prefer a meal out with their direct team as an alternative to the Christmas party.


Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder at Perkbox, said: “The Christmas party is something that many employers rely on to commemorate the festive season and use to reward staff for their hard work. However, the data shows that actually this Christmas perk is creeping out of favour amongst some sections of the workforce. It is telling that this mostly seems to be due to the social aspect – either because they don’t want to be forced to socialise with colleagues, or because they find this kind of situation where often people will break into groups too cliquey.


Cao continues: “It’s not all bad though, as the research clearly shows that there is still an appetite to have some kind of get-together with colleagues before Christmas. In fact, the majority said they would favour a meal out with their immediate team instead of a Christmas party – suggesting smaller group activities could prove more popular. Given that rewards and incentives tend to be most effective when tailored to individuals, businesses looking to swap out the Christmas party for this kind of alternative could even give departments or teams a budget and allow them to choose what they want to do.


“ But whatever businesses choose to do to mark Christmas this year, it is best organised as part of a year-long reward strategy that will help maintain good morale, staff retention and a sense of team.”

To review what employee benefits staff really want at Christmas, check out Perkbox’s Most Generous Time of the Year Study.