We recently published a story identifying the weirdest holiday gifts people had received from co-workers. To pour even more fuel on the Christmas cheer bonfire, here’s a survey on how employees feel about company holiday traditions. Hint: They hate them.  

At least that’s what a recent survey by Dr. Paul White, a licensed psychologist and business consultant, concluded. The most dreaded workplace holiday tradition by far: The gift exchange.

The study found that a staggering 70% of employees said they feel aggravated by workplace gifting traditions. Breaking down workers’ feelings even further, employees also said they hated the following aspects of the holiday season in the workplace:

  • Feeling pressure to get year-end tasks done (28%)
  • “White elephant” gift exchanges (23%)
  • Being expected to buy gifts for co-workers and bosses at all (22%)
  • “Secret Santa” gift exchanges (21%)
  • Having to attend after-hours holiday celebrations (20%)
  • Having to work on holidays (18%), and
  • Being required to bring food to the holiday luncheon (18%).

Although it wasn’t something they necessarily hated, the study also found that 70% of employees felt pressured by compulsory gift giving at work.

Watching drunks, dancing with the diseased

Finally, study participants were asked to recount their holiday horror stories from work. Here are some of the more memorable submissions (these are direct quotes from workers):

  • Every year our director “thanks” us by getting a party bus to go drinking together. This is mandatory and I am a recovering alcoholic. She knows this but I still need to drive around for 5+ hours and watch everyone get drunk. This is supposed to make me feel appreciated. It is horrible!
  • Dancing with an employee who didn’t know he had the measles, and being quarantined for a week afterwards.
  • Our team participates in Chinese Christmas present exchange. My boss had a present that a team member was going to steal. She threatened her evaluation if she stole the present- she wasn’t kidding. It was a very awkward silence and the team member ended up taking another present. Needless to say no other team member attempted to take it.

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