Millennials Are Super Stressed By This So-Called Fun Office Tradition

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Millennials have waged war against Baby Boomers — now, they’ve got their sights set on eliminating “Secret Santa.”
Once thought of as a fun way to surprise co-workers with a gift during the holiday season is now an anxiety trigger for most Millennials, according to a groundbreaking study analyzing workers in the UK.

A study conducted by Jobsite discovered that more than a quarter of Millennials said they have to dip into their savings account to contribute to office-wide celebrations like Secret Santa and for others like birthday and promotion presents. One of the concerns of Millennials were about 17% of respondents said they felt judged by their co-workers for the gifts they decided to get.
One in three Millennials said the Secret Santa should be banned, as well as other gift-giving events at the office.

Not so secret stress

“The spirit of giving – especially at a seasonal time of exchanging gifts via ‘Secret Santa’ – is something we’d hope can be expressed in many ways and it’s worth remembering that where this involves financial contributions, not all colleagues have the same disposable income,”Dr. Ashley Weinberg, an expert in workplace psychology at the University of Salford, said in a statement. “This can mean that an individual’s contribution or lack of one is labeled ‘stingy’ where actually they may not be in a position to contribute. Clearly this is unfair and creates stigma,
“As the spirit of giving is also about generosity of spirit, we argue that where Secret Santa is concerned, something ‘secret’ should probably remain so. What shouldn’t remain secret is that giving is a mindful activity and one hopefully that is designed to do something good and not to be a trigger for something worse.”
Millennials, who are plagued with financial insecurities stemming from student loans and a different job market, also admitted for forking over more than they expected when it came to general office-wide celebrations. A staggering 73% of the respondents said they shelled out more than they could afford for an office celebration.
“The giving and receiving of gifts is a natural part of our make-up as social animals. In fact, the basis of most of our face-to-face communication relies on taking turns and understanding the unwritten rules which underpin it. The workplace is an obvious testing ground for our ability to negotiate, but we don’t always feel we have the power to say ‘no’ and we should,” Weinberg said.
“Having the chance to share our appreciation of colleagues and to celebrate positive events is really valuable – just as long as this is done fairly. Workplace organizations can play a positive part in this, whether helping to suggest sensible parameters or even by setting the ball rolling with a contribution to collections for employees.”
– Kyle Schnitzer

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This article originally appeared on Ladders