Did the Grinch come to the office Christmas party?

Of course, some businesses, even before the pandemic, tried to avoid loud or boozy celebrations. Roy Bahat, a venture capitalist at Bloomberg Beta, has been organizing a holiday party for startups since 2014, called Startup Festivus, on the first Friday in December from 3 to 6 p.m., so people can go home to their families.

“We want to have a holiday party where next Monday everyone will show up proud of who they were,” Mr. Bahat said. “We all know the story where someone goes to a Christmas party and ends up doing something that causes a big breakup.”

At Conductor, a New York-based software company, CEO Seth Besmertnik decided that what his employees would want most this year would be to take a week off at the same time in late December and then host a celebration in February. Eleven end-of-year deadlines missed. There was a casual happy hour at a Midtown wine bar this month that started early, at 5:30 p.m.

“We’ve gone from five days a week of constantly working and attending evening events, to the other end of the spectrum, which is, ‘I don’t want to come to the office, I want my travel time is completely reduced. for me,” he said. “When you organize an event to inspire people, motivate them and reward them, do it on terms they would appreciate. »

“Even me personally, I want to go home earlier,” he added. “I don’t want to be out all night.”

Of course, not all employees are eager to leave the good old days behind. Kerrie Shakespeare, managing director of O2E Brands, which offers housekeeping services such as painting and rubbish removal, said her company was hosting afternoon parties this year, after hosting parties in the past.

The staff consensus was clear, she said. “The feedback was that people liked the evening. »