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Bah Humbug! Pervades British Boardrooms


The spirit of Scrooge is thriving in British boardrooms of the latest survey from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is to be believed.

According to the poll, Britain's executives feel the festive season is disruptive, goes on too long and few believe celebrations boost morale.

The findings show:
* Only 61% claim to have an office party compared to 86% in 2002. Less than half say that they enjoy office festivities.
* 37% of those questioned said seasonal festivities created problems because colleagues or clients were inaccessible.
* Just 11% say they give gifts to colleagues, down from 23% in 2003. 'Secret Santa' will also be climbing down fewer workplace chimneys this year, with only 1 in 5 organisations running mystery gifts schemes, compared to 1 in 4, 12 months ago.
* UK executives suggest that Christmas celebrations drag on too long (47%) and 35% say they are disruptive (compared to 21% in 2003). Only 15% want to entertain key business contacts with few believing the celebrations improve morale.

Petra Cook, head of policy at the CMI, described the findings as "worrying".

"The idea that Christmas creates pressure and tension in the workplace is worrying, particularly as it has traditionally been seen as a time to reward staff for the hard work they do during the year," she said.

"Environments where the emphasis is on 'all work and no play' are unlikely to be energetic and productive."

Christmas cheer was more noticeable amongst smaller organisations with 68% holding parties, compared to 61% of large businesses, 21% taking clients out for lunches, compared to 12% of large businesses and 72% making some contribution to the cost of staff parties, compared to 51% of organisations with more than 250 staff.


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