Home New Office Holiday Traditions See Some Shifts as Pandemic Protocols Linger

Office Holiday Traditions See Some Shifts as Pandemic Protocols Linger

According to a recent WO Pop-Up Poll, most offices are giving individual gifts or cash to employees, with  about 93 percent of them saying that they do so around or at the end of the year – some as early as Thanksgiving. Only seven percent of respondents said that their practices do not give individual gifts. 

 In addition, slightly more than half — 57 percent –  of the respondents said that they also host an office party along with some kind of gift-giving. Another seven percent said that they prefer an in-person event over gifts — and 36 percent percent said that they do gifts but no outside get-togethers.


In terms of the gift select, cash is king – with 44 percent of the respondents saying that is the gift of choice. The next largest category is some kind of similar gift, such as a tumbler or a jacket or gift certificate. Eleven percent of the respondents said that they search for a specific individual gift for each employee about. About 10 percent of the practices do some kind of white elephant gift exchange among staff. 

One respondent wrote in saying that gift cards based on the employee’s interest are always appreciated. Another wrote that chocolates and sweets are the best gifts. “If the recipient doesn’t want them, they can forward them as a gift to someone else. Cash is second best, but how much is too much…?”Indeed, calculating the amount of cash to be given is most often based on a formula that factors in the employee’s salary and amount of time worked that year. Nearly 73 percent of respondents who give cash gifts use that strategy. Another 18 percent say that everyone gets the same amount, while nearly 5 percent each say that it is either performance-based or dependent on the employee’s job role.


Nearly half – 46 percent — of the respondents said that the process of gift-giving is not at all stressful; they enjoy the hubbub of the holidays. Nearly 40 percent said that it is somewhat stressful but they have taken steps to minimize the guesswork around end-of-year gift giving. 

However 11 percent said that the process is stressful because of the expectations and conflicts that arise. Four percent of the respondents said it is not stressful because employees know not to expect any year-end gift. 


Most of those who wrote in answers on whether COVID-19 has changed their approach to gift-giving season said that they have dropped the holiday party or tried to move it outdoors. One respondent noted that the practice has not held any staff nights out since the pandemic started; others noted that the stress of working through the pandemic conditions has made them more generous. One wrote, “We have in the past had gift exchanges at a office party with a buffet (staff bringing side dishes) – lately we have tried to have dinner out and go to a Christmas concert or event as a group (with +1s).”

Seventy-five percent of the respondents siad they were women ODs and nearly 22 percent said they were male ODs. 


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