Christmasparties go out with a 'Bah' and a whimper

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The Independent Online

The office Christmas party looks like becoming a thing of the past. A survey by the Chartered Institute of Management (CIM) has found that only 61 per cent of executives plan to hold a party this year, down from 86 per cent a year ago.

The office Christmas party looks like becoming a thing of the past. A survey by the Chartered Institute of Management (CIM) has found that only 61 per cent of executives plan to hold a party this year, down from 86 per cent a year ago.

Overwork, fears that inappropriate behaviour could lead to legal actions and general lack of interest have all led to a "Bah, humbug!" attitude in the workplace. Only 11 per cent of executives will be giving presents to colleagues this year - half the figure of a year ago - while nearly half of executives say Christmas festivities go on too long and 35 per cent claim they are disruptive.

Petra Cook, head of policy at the CIM, said: "We work longer hours than anywhere in Europe, and this has brought a sense of exhaustion. Instead of office parties, people want to spend time with their family and friends."

The boom in litigation in the workplace has led companies to start fearing parties, with law firms offering checklists to avoid the risk of being sued. Suggestions include issuing a code of behaviour to all staff, not talking about promotion or salary issues in a social situation, limiting the amount of free alcohol available and inviting spouses and partners to avoid the risk of office romances.

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