In many U.S. offices, employers and employees are getting ready to celebrate the end of a long work year by throwing a holiday party. Some party animals may be disappointed to hear that 2018 will see the fewest planned holiday parties in nearly a decade. As Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, a new poll conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. has found that 65 percent of companies will hold a holiday party this year, the lowest number since 2009 when it was 62 percent. That of course came amid a backdrop of the recession and tighter budgets.
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Nearly a decade later, the economy is thriving and the money is flowing. If the country's economic situation has nothing to do with companies ditching holiday parties, then what's going on?
According to the survey, concerns about potential liability following the #MeToo movement could be having an impact while increases in remote working might be making holiday party gatherings difficult to organize in some cases. Concerns about bad behavior at Christmas parties is well-founded and the occasion is often blamed for workers releasing pent-up stress accumulated throughout the year, over-indulgence in alcohol, a willingness to make feelings about co-workers known and in some cases, sexual harassment.
The research made the point that the impact of #MeToo has been overwhelmingly positive in U.S. workplaces and spurred companies to introduce important policies to protect staff. Even though it found that 40 percent of companies took no action to address the issue and do not intend doing so prior to the party, others have managed to make progress and address their staff. 27.3 percent said they briefed staff on the issue and that precautions are being taken to ensure revellers are mindful of avoiding any impropriety. 24.2 percent said that even though they did not take any precautions in advance of the holiday party, the issue of #MeToo was addressed at some point over the past year.