Employers should take time to show that they appreciate the hard work their staff have done throughout the year, according to a professional body.

Christmas parties are an effective way for them to say thank you and encourage their employees for the coming year, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) says.

According to research by the organisation, ‘budget bashes’ are dominating the festive season with just 14 per cent of companies inviting employees’ partners to events.

Mike Petrook, public affairs manager for the CMI, said it is "vital" for employers to acknowledge that they understand their workers are under pressure at the moment.

"It’s so important that employers take time to say thank you particularly at the moment where there is so much stress and strain in terms of the economy," he added.

A third of UK employees see the annual work Christmas party as a chance to network, impress the boss and potentially achieve a promotion, a recent study by Orange shows.