Should you pay to go to the office Christmas party?

It’s the season of goodwill but how far does your boss’s generosity extend when it  comes to paying for the office Christmas party?

Seems not very far in most cases, as just one in eight of us get our Christmas party paid for by the boss according to    So for most of us, that means digging deep as we spend an average of £80 on our work Christmas meal and drinks, which is yet another bill in an already expensive month.

And let’s be honest, unless you’re lucky enough to work with such a fun bunch of people that you’ll happily spend your spare time with them, in some cases, the office lunch or after work party can rapidly descend into nothing more than a boring extension of office life.

So if you’re going to be paying for the privilege of spending time with people you can’t wait to see the back of come 5pm every day, why bother?

Multiple party syndrome……..

Depending on the size of the company you work for, we’re not even talking about just one Christmas party in the diary.

There’s the department lunch,  the company Christmas party and maybe even a ‘team’ drink thrown in too, so it can all get pretty pricey if you’ve got to pay and feel pressure to go to all three….

While there’s no law that says you must go along to the office Christmas party, I think if you’re expected  to go, so say it’s a lunch in work time, then the least the boss can do is stump up.

What’s the cost if you’re the boss?

On the flip side, if you’re the boss and treating your team to a night out, is there a danger of a double whammy if you’re left with a hefty bar bill, only to find half the team go ‘sick’ the next day meaning lost productivity?

It’s not all bad news though, as in some cases, even HM Revenue & Customs do show a little festive spirit as you may be able to reclaim costs if you run a ‘Limited Company’, spend £150 or less per person and make sure the event is open to all employees.

And even if you can’t claim anything back, buying a few rounds of drinks in the pub could still make for a good investment, if it keeps your employees happy.

How to have the perfect office party

For the perfect party recipe I think it’s about arranging your own ‘do’ with the people you know you’ll have a good time with.

As a freelancer, I’m usually lucky enough to get invited out to several Christmas drinks events, but I always make sure I get together with two of my fabulous freelance friends for our own lunch too.

Yes we’ll split the bill between us, but we know we’ll have a great time and work talk is most definitely off the agenda!