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Are Holiday Office Parties Making a Comeback? [POLL/AUDIO]

Remember the days of the extravagant office party when you had to get dressed up in your holiday best and you were whisked away to an expensive restaurant with all the food and drink you could eat with entertainment until the wee hours of the morning?

Flickr User Jerekeys

Those parties may have been called to a halt during the recession, but office parties are beginning to make a comeback. Nearly 83 percent of 100 human resources managers said in a recent Challenger, Gray and Christmas survey that they will be hosting an event this year, including 10 percent who didn’t have a party last year because of the economy.

But, don’t expect a champagne and caviar affair.

“Each year, as we’ve recovered from the recession, we’ve seen more and more companies bringing the holiday office party back. They see it as a reward for a job well done for their employees and everyone can get together in a social setting either on or off premises,” said Phil Kirschner, President of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. “I don’t think you will see the kind of extravagant holiday parties that used to be at big fancy hotels with plush meals and spouses invited. Some companies still invite spouses, but the events tend to be at smaller restaurants that aren’t quite as elaborate. Some are catered on premises. The affairs are nice, but just not as elaborate as they were prior to the recession.”

Don’t expect a holiday bonus either. “I think we’ve seen a move away from holiday bonuses, not just because of the economy. Most bonuses now are given out as merit pay bonuses, if someone has overachieved with certain goals or had outstanding performance,” said Kirschner. “There are still companies who will give a little something to each individual or some sort of gift, but it’s usually a token. The bonuses themselves are usually for performance.”


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