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Survey Reveals How Canadian Workers Really Feel About Company Holiday Celebrations

  • A good time was had by some: Overall, 29 per cent of professionals describe holiday parties as entertaining; two in five (40 per cent) give these events a thumbs down.
  • To party, or not to party? Slightly more than one-fifth (21 per cent) describe year-end bashes as obligatory; 55 per cent view them as optional.
  • Few raising crystal flutes or the roof: Eleven per cent of workers categorizes their soirees as lavish or rowdy.
  • See and be seen. Twenty-four per cent of workers age 18-34 feel pressure to attend holiday work events, compared to 11 per cent of those 55 and over.

Toronto, ON. — When it comes to office holiday celebrations, not all parties are created equal. In a recent survey by staffing firm Office Team, 29 per cent of Canadian workers describe these celebrations as “fun,” while 40 per cent felt less enthused.

Popping the Bubbly?

Black-tie galas and festive ice sculptures may be a thing of the past only 13 per cent of workers polled said they’d categorize their company holiday parties as extravagant.

Holiday Hangout or Smooth Career Move?

Professionals aren’t necessarily counting down the days until their company shindig. Slightly more than one-in-five of those surveyed (21 per cent) described their holiday parties as obligatory.

However, Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam, advises workers not to duck out too fast. “Holiday events offer a less formal opportunity to build relationships with colleagues and executives in areas of the organization you may not otherwise have exposure to,” added Vasilopoulos. “Taking the time to participate in festivities can improve visibility within the company, while also helping to encourage office camaraderie and establish a more collaborative and enjoyable workplace.”

OfficeTeam offers tips for employees to navigate holiday parties and employers who want to plan successful celebrations:

Tips for Employees

Tips for Employers

Mix and mingle. Socialize with coworkers outside your usual circle. These celebrations are an opportunity to meet people you don’t work with every day.


Ask for input. Survey your staff to see how people want to celebrate. Feedback on venue, food and timing will get planning off to a good start.

Curb shoptalk. This is your chance to get to know colleagues in a social setting, so don’t make it all about business. Conversation starters can include people’s holiday plans or New Year’s resolutions.


Build a buzz. Get the word out early. Talk up the event with management in all departments, and don’t shy away from reaching out to employees individually.


Don't be a scrooge. Though holiday time can be stressful for some, keep your discussions positive and upbeat. Avoid controversial topics such as politics and gossip.


Get creative. A big budget isn’t the only way to throw a successful holiday party. Brainstorm unique ways to build camaraderie without breaking the bank.

Limit libations. ‘Tis the season to party, but not too hard. Drink in moderation and remember holiday parties are still work functions.


Show appreciation. Employees want to feel recognized for their hard work. Incorporate an element into the festivities that shows your gratitude.


About the Research

The survey of workers was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 550 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit roberthalf.ca/officeteam. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.