In the past couple of weeks, we seem to have had a lot of parties at KashFlow HQ. We had an welcome party at our new office…and drank a lot. Then we hosted a big Christmas party, #KFXmas, for around 100 small business owners…and drank a lot. And just last Friday, we had our staff Christmas do…and drank a lot. Of course, those of us (erm, I mean them…) who really wanted to drink a lot made sure to book the next day off.

Last year, a survey of middle managers revealed that almost 50% of businesses in London would be forgoing a Christmas party because of the recession, but the number of businesses throwing a Christmas party was back up to almost 70% this year. Despite the fact that some people complain Christmas parties result in lost work hours and can blur the line between work and personal lives too much, most employers clearly see some value in the Christmas party…but what exactly is that value?

As far as I can tell, the biggest benefit for us is camaraderie – Christmas parties offer a rare chance to find out more about your colleagues than you do during an average day at work, c.f. the lengthy conversation I had with someone from Support about atheism and agnosticism. I can’t imagine getting into all that in the staff room at lunch.

Christmas parties can also be a great way to make everyone feel like they’re working towards a common goal – something as simple as an expression of gratitude from the CEO can remind you that when you’re working at a company (well, if it’s the right one anyway…) people are relying on you, and everyone else around them, to help build something special. Sure, you can do all that without having the party afterwards…but where’s the fun in that?

Every year we also present our Employee Awards, ranging from the serious (star employee) to the not so serious (most likely to appear on Jeremy Kyle). The winners are voted for by employees, which offers a nice chance to show how we all feel about each other. It was a regular lovefest up in here last week! Unfortunately some award winners disappeared for the holidays before we could get their picture, but this should give you a flavour…

 The hotly contested ‘Bromance of 2012’ award went to Adam and George

Despite being here for just a few months, Steven is already making waves and was voted Star Employee!

Marion’s desk is way tidier than mine…

Yes, a bit soppy, but we all (secretly…) love Dom!

My favourite award? This one, natch…

Stu (me!) and Russ – Most Fashionable…apparently

Well, whad’ya know, it turns out that Christmas parties are more than just an excuse to get drunk and photocopy body parts – they can also offer a chance to nurture friendships with coworkers you might rarely get the chance to speak to on a daily basis and pay tribute to your fellow employees. Umm, unless you’re this guy

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