Home News UK SMEs cut the cost of Christmas
UK SMEs cut the cost of Christmas
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 11:33

Findings show that small companies risk damaging staff morale by cutting back festive activities this year.

New research found that almost half of SMEs are not planning a Christmas party this year and that 91 per cent of businesses that are, will spend the same or less than last year. Recent tough times were blamed for a decline in Christmas related activities over the past few years.

63% of the 500 SMEs surveyed by Pitney Bowes recognise that cutting back or cancelling Christmas parties damage staff morale, but recent tough times were blamed for a decline in Christmas related activities over the past few years. Of those intending to have a Christmas bash, the average spend per head will be £43.80.

Phil McCabe, Senior Policy Adviser at the Forum of Private Business, comments: "Controlling costs is always important, but staff Christmas parties are a valuable way of showing recognition and appreciation of your employees. In turn, good employee engagement delivers bottom line results. Choosing not to recognise staff at Christmas could have a negative effect on morale and therefore productivity so companies need to introduce other ways of motivating."

Other Christmas initiatives

The research also showed that a third of businesses are introducing new, leaner measures this year to make sure they run smoothly over Christmas. New initiatives planned involve having skeleton teams in place or key people on call 24/7, in an effort to run more efficiently but not shut down completely. On the other hand, 35 per cent of SMEs will be closing for Christmas, believing their staff deserve a good rest.

SMEs are not entirely turning their back on tradition though, with nearly half of companies still planning on sending out Christmas cards, with a further 20 per cent intending to send a mix of physical and digital cards. It is this integrated approach to communication that companies find generate the most business, with 27 per cent saying that a combination of mail, email and web campaigns provide the most success compared to standalone channels. Only 7 per cent said they would just be sending e-cards.

Phil Hutchison, Pitney Bowes Tactical Marketing Director, says: "Christmas is a great time to engage with staff and customers, especially when times are tough, and festive activities need not be expensive. In place of parties, companies can try other ways of showing their appreciation, such as more flexible working, relaxed dress codes or setting time aside for activities such as a festive quiz."

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