Those Office Parties Are Going to Cost You

Office parties cartoon

Celebrating milestones like birthdays, anniversaries and weddings can be fun at work. But is forking out money for each of those office parties and gifts a drag?

Imagine this: Aaron’s 20th work anniversary is coming up next week, so everyone’s slipping money into an envelope to go toward purchasing an engraved plaque for him. Just a few days later, you receive an email requesting donations for Marsha’s upcoming baby shower. You work closely with both colleagues and don’t want to have to choose which you contribute to, plus you don’t want to look like the office cheapskate, so you pony up some funds for each.

Have you ever been in a similar situation?

According to a new OfficeTeam survey, more than half (54 percent) of senior managers said employees are asked to contribute money for staff celebrations at least once a year. Luckily, many workers seem to be in a generous mood. Fifty-one percent stated they are OK chipping in every so often and a quarter went so far as to say that they’re totally fine with it because it’s for a good cause.  

Most of the time, people don’t mind pitching in to acknowledge their coworkers. It’s just when the requests come too often that it can get a little annoying. 

So what if you’re the one who’s responsible for collecting money for a celebration? How can you avoid getting eye rolls from everyone in the office?

Avoid these mistakes when asking colleagues to pitch in for office parties:

  • Asking absolutely everyone. If someone doesn’t work directly with the individual being recognized (or doesn’t even know who he or she is), you probably shouldn’t solicit money from that employee. You might also want to refrain from asking the new guy if he’s just joined the organization.    
  • Requiring participation. No one likes being forced to do something. Make sure it’s clear that contributions are voluntary.
  • Telling others how much they need to give. Again, most people don’t like being told what to do. Don’t set a required dollar amount. It’s much more pleasant to let staff chip in whatever they are comfortable with.
  • Using your hard-sell tactics. There’s no need to be aggressive or get in coworkers’ faces. It can be intimidating when someone approaches you individually about contributing. Instead, send a group email about it and circulate an envelope for anonymous donations. 
  • Being a repeat requester. If you’re constantly asking colleagues to open their wallets, they’re going to get irked at some point. When possible, bundle occasions into monthly or quarterly celebrations to keep the requests manageable.

How often are employees at your company asked to contribute to staff celebrations?

Related Articles: