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Holiday office parties are back

Written on Dec 8, 2022

Nearly 57% of companies plan to host in-person holiday parties this year, a new survey by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas found. That compares to 27% in 2021 and 5% in 2020.  

Just shy of 2% of companies plan to offer workers virtual events, while another 6% had gatherings outdoors when the weather was warmer, reveals the survey, which was completed online in October and November at 252 U.S. companies. While more companies are celebrating with workers this year, numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, nearly 75% of companies had year-end parties. 

“Employers know their teams are battling burnout, may be on the verge of quiet quitting or are leaving their positions all together,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, said in a news release. “The holiday party has always been a way for companies to show their teams they value them. Creating a space for employees to have fun together bolsters morale and connection to their employers and their work, so it really is an important retention and leadership tool for employers.” 

In a workforce beleaguered by COVID-19 and with many workers in remote or hybrid settings, the year-end party can be a morale booster and can improve retention, HR experts have said. While many companies started planning their parties later in the year than in pre-pandemic years over fears of potential COVID-19 surges, several now are moving forward with year-end celebrations.  

With the popularity of hybrid or remote work, many coworkers don’t see their peers or interact with others outside of their department, experts said, making the holiday party a rare time for teams to connect.