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Ready to Ditch the Work Holiday Party?

Company Holiday Party

Fewer company holiday parties are held these days. In fact, 65% of companies planned a holiday party last year, which was the lowest number since 2009, according to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Nearly one-third of the companies that responded admitted they’ve never thrown a holiday party, which is also exceptional.

Back in 2009, the reasons for canceling or not starting the tradition of a holiday party were obvious: We were knee-deep into the Great Recession. But today’s reasons aren’t as obvious.

“The low number of corporate celebrations does not appear to be due to economic reasons. Companies are sitting on tax savings and generally report a thriving economy,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The firm suspected that the #MeToo movement and how harassment liabilities can play out in holiday party environments might be to blame. They found that among those who are still throwing parties, nearly 60% have addressed the #MeToo movement with their staff.

There are other more logistical reasons holiday parties are going away. About 56% of companies now hire remote workers, which makes physical parties inclusively challenging. There’s also the 2017 corporate tax law changes that have made holiday parties that include significant others, vendors, and other outside guests questionable when it comes to tax-deductibility, despite overall corporate-friendly tax changes.

And then there’s this little bit of wisdom: 73% of employees prefer a cash bonus over a holiday party (if they had to choose one or the other), while 51% favor having extra paid time off between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

So, if you’re starting to grow tired of the annual holiday party, there’s a chance your staff is too. There may be other reasons to replace it with another way to celebrate—ones that are more inclusive, hold more value, and include less risk.

Need ideas? SHRM recommends service projects or “mystery trips” and The Balance Careers lists several ideas for in-office fun instead. And if you have remote workers, check out video conference company HighFive’s ideas for including them in your holiday fun.