Workers have a fear and loathing of the office party

Aug 08 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Beneath the bonhomie and back-slapping of leaving dos and office birthday parties we are a bunch of miserable old grouches irritated at being forced to fork out good money on people about whom we do not particularly care or at least that's what latest research has suggested.

A survey by recruitment firm RPCushing Recruitment has found that half of workers resent having to pay for gifts when someone decides to leave the company, while a similar number feel annoyed at being forced to give to charity.

Most employees, it found, find the often compulsory office traditions of contributing to leaving presents, social days out and taking part in sporting or non-sporting sweepstakes deeply irritating.

Four out of 10 begrudge the culture of the office leaver being expected to buy drinks for colleagues and one in three workers find workplace outings simply annoying.

Being expected to buy cakes for all and sundry on your birthday also irritates a quarter of staff.

Even innovations designed to make office life feel more relaxed can backfire. One in six workers claim to feel aggravated by "dress down days" with a quarter admitting to feeling under pressure to look their best.

Paul Cushing, managing director of RPCushing, said: "Many informal interpersonal interactions, workplace incentives and team bonding exercises are resented by office workers.

"There are definite benefits to employers encouraging the development of a participative culture based on teamwork. However, there should be broad consensus amongst the employees about what form these activities should take."