Small businesses can't afford office Christmas parties

Small businesses can't afford office Christmas parties

22 December 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

The recession is taking its toll on seasonal festivities this year, with Christmas parties being cancelled at 42 per cent of small businesses in the UK.

Small businesses have been battered recently, with 80 per cent reporting that 2009 has been a tough year for them, according to research from uSwitchforBusiness.com.

But, for nearly half of those which have not yet been consumed by the ongoing recession, there will be few opportunities to celebrate as a Christmas party is an expense which they can ill afford.

Furthermore, 46 per cent of small businesses who are feeling the crunch will be so frugal this festive season as to not pay any end of year or Christmas bonuses to their staff.

More than half of small and medium enterprises in the UK have had to find ways to cut costs in order to last out the year, the research shows, and only a third were able to maintain the same level of employee perks which their staff enjoyed last year.

But, it is not all doom and gloom, as 43 per cent of SMEs say that they are seeing some signs of recovery and are looking forward to a better climate for small businesses in the New Year.

Green shoots in 2010 would help to strengthen businesses and companies will be able to reintroduce some of the perks which their staff have been missing out on.

Jake Ridge, SME expert at uSwitchforBusiness.com, says: "2009 has been a difficult year for SMEs so it's not surprising that many feel forced to pull the plug on the traditional Christmas party and end of year bonuses. These are difficult decisions to make and could have an impact on staff morale and loyalty. For those employees hit by the double whammy it's going to feel like a real damp squib of a Christmas.

"Things are looking up for next year though," he added, but warned that "it's early days so it remains vitally important that they continue to keep a tight lid on essential running costs."

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