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Friday, December 09, 2005

Holiday Parties Go From Wild to Mild

The raucous company holiday (nee Christmas) party -- in which employees drink a little too much and do things they regret the next morning -- is fast becoming a thing of the past. Worries over sexual harassment, liability and corporate cost-cutting are making office parties more subdued affairs. Today's parties are more likely to feature healthy foods, and alcohol is limited or gone altogether. Parties are also more likely to be lunches than all-night affairs.

Employees may not be mourning the loss of office parties, as a Canadian survey found that over 80% of employees found their company get-togethers a hassle rather than a pleasure. However, it's always been my experience that the number and quality of company parties, picnics and other extracurricular social events are a barometer of an organization's overall health. When holiday parties and summer picnics are cancelled, it's usually a sign of either belt-tightening or a dysfunctional workplace... and followed by layoffs or a wholesale folding of the business. So if your workplace has cancelled or drastically scaled back a long-standing holiday party this year, it may not just be the boss being a Scrooge or a prude. It may be a subliminal sign to polish your resume come January.

Source: Reuters (via Excite)