Back in the day, as in prior to the financial crisis, office holiday parties could be counted on to include a number of things: a never-ending flow of the best booze money could buy, seafood towers galore, lines of coke as far as they eye could see, the smiling faces of employees who knew they would be receiving a generous cash bonus, and black cars waiting outside to whisk everyone to Marquee and Scores after that. Then the global financial crisis hit and person considered himself lucky if his firm ponied up for a bag of chips per employee in the conference room. According to a new report, though, things are slowly, tentatively coming back, but you'd do well to keep your expectations vis-à-vis alcohol-fueled mating rituals between analysts and partners, and other such debauchery, in check.
A survey from Challenger, Gray & Christmas found 89 percent of companies were planning holiday parties at the end of last year, up from 82 percent in 2012 and just 68 percent in 2011. But Addison noted today’s corporate parties are not the kind your father attended. Groups tend to be smaller, with a department of 40 paying between $100 and $250 per head instead of a company of 300 forking over $50,000 for a single all-hands-on-deck blowout. “Smaller groups are much easier, and you avoid scenes like a dustup between the top executive and a mailroom clerk,” Addison said. He added that, to curb reveler excess, more companies are allotting drink tickets to limit each employee’s intake.