The festive season is a time for celebration, good times and just a little over-indulgence – and why not?
If you’ve worked hard all year long, the festive season is the perfect time to let your hair down with friends and family and spread some well-earned Christmas cheer. And love it or loathe it, the annual Christmas party is a festive tradition nearly as old as Christmas puddings, chestnuts on an open fire and falling asleep on your sofa in front of the Queen’s Speech. Bliss.
Whilst a festive get-together is a great way to thank and reward employees for their hard work over the year, it can be a time of trepidation for those who really don’t enjoy the festivities. And, whilst having a great time is the aim of any get-together, for some a little too much fun can all be a little too much…
Workplace culture is littered with tales employees who told their boss what they really thought after one too many Sambucas, or the employee who thought it’d be a great idea to drive home after ‘only a couple of drinks’. We wouldn’t recommend either, by the way.
On the other side of the coin, we also have to consider inclusivity; taking into account the employees who may find the pressures of social gatherings difficult, don’t celebrate Christmas or simply want to do their own thing.
So, what’s the best way to approach Christmas parties? To keep you all on the straight and narrow, and to help you avoid being ‘that person’ who becomes a Christmas party ‘legend’ for all the wrong reasons, we’ve put together 11 essential rules of the work Christmas party.
RULE 1: TURN UP!
Whilst having a Christmas party is a fantastic way to reward employees, as we mentioned earlier, some people simply don’t like the festive season or don’t want to spend their precious free time involved with their work – and that’s fine! But, showing up for even just a brief period will show your commitment to the organisation and a willingness to be part of the team. And we’re not talking a 10-minute ‘Hi / Bye’, either.
Take some time to engage in conversations with colleagues and take a moment to thank the organiser for their efforts. If you’re really not able to attend, take the time beforehand to let the organiser know you can’t make it and thank them for the invite – don’t just leave your invite un-responded to in your inbox or simply ‘declined’. After all, if you were the one organising the annual work’s party, we’re sure a little thanks can go a long way!
RULE 2: DON’T FORGET, YOU’RE STILL TECHNICALLY AT WORK
Not wanting to be party poopers here, but just because you’re dressed up in your finery and out of the physical workplace, you’re still technically within the work environment, so the same rules of your organisation will apply.
Whilst you may have had a little Dutch Courage, it’s definitely not the place to discuss your job role, wages or grievances you may have. And just as important, don’t talk shop or complain about your colleagues – this is a time to celebrate, enjoy and socialise; not an opportunity to vent about your job or the people you work with.
RULE 3: GET TO KNOW YOUR COLLEAGUES
This more relaxed and casual environment is a fantastic opportunity to network with your colleagues, some of which may work in different locations.
Successful networking offers the chance to let your colleagues talk about themselves whilst you listen and learn – plus get to know them a little better and maybe even have some fun, too.
“If you’re still fairly new to an organisation, the Christmas party is a brilliant opportunity to build potentially great relationships with the people you’ll be working with every day.”
RULE 4: FANCY DRESS? OR “FANCY” DRESS?
This rule’s a pretty simple one but can mean you avoid an embarrassing faux pas when making your entrance: Always check the dress code! If the dress code is ‘Fancy Dress’, there’s no harm in just clarifying if that means a nice tux or party dress before you go dusting off your Halloween Batman costume…
And anyway, it’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, right?
RULE 5: GETTING YOUR GROOVE ON
When you combine good times, alcohol and music, dancing is pretty much an inevitability – and who are we to deny you that pleasure! If you’ve got the opportunity, feel free to get your best shape-throwing, dad-dancing moves out for everyone to see – after all, who doesn’t love hitting the dancefloor every once in a while? But in seriousness, there’s a couple of rules you should keep in mind.
Don’t get too smoochy with you colleagues or too over-zealous with your dance moves – you really don’t want to risk either an injury or, even worse, a sexual harassment claim against you, consensual or not?
When you’ve had a few to drink, it might seem like a good idea to flirt with the boss or your colleagues, but really, just don’t!! Don’t get up close and personal; so that’s no kissing, cuddling, over-zealous hugging, heavy petting or cannonballs.
RULE 6: KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Whilst it’s nice to have a glass of wine or two, please know your limits and be responsible with your drinking.
Whilst drunken behaviour might be OK with your friends, at the works ‘do’, it’s definitely not acceptable. No-one wants to be passing out in the toilets, sick on the dance floor or having to rely on others to look out for their own wellbeing.
Also, mixing booze with office gossip is not a good idea. Try not to declare your undying love about a colleague, or cry on the shoulder of your boss.
Pace yourself, try not to drink on an empty stomach, drink slowly, sip your cocktails, drink lots of water between rounds, and note the old adage, the ‘grape and the grain’ do not mix.
RULE 7: WHO’S GOING TO DRIVE YOU HOME?
Have a great night and lots of fun; but just like knowing your limits, always keep in mind when it’s time to leave and also, how you’ll be getting home. Have you arranged a lift home? Or have you booked a taxi? Making sensible arrangements beforehand can prevent any unforeseen problems and ensure you arrive home safely, but above all, if you’ve had a drink, leave the car at home or at the office and never drink and drive.
RULE 8: RESPECT YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Now, we appreciate that you’re all consenting adults, but if the party is held on your premises, don’t go for a romp in the MD’s office – no matter how great an idea it may seem at the time! After all, you wouldn’t want any embarrassing interruptions now, would you?
Don’t get caught kissing in the stair well, don’t get caught using the photocopier for inappropriate copying and above all, make sure all your equipment is securely locked away… if you get our meaning…
RULE 9: DON’T CALL IN SICK
If your work’s Christmas Party is on a school night, no matter how hung-over you might be the next day, don’t call in sick. We all know what’s wrong with you and you’re not fooling anyone!
On the other hand, if you feel fine – great! But, always be aware that it takes around 1 hour for your body to break down 1 unit of alcohol. So, if you’ve indulged in some festive shots over the course of the night, you may well still have a lot of alcohol in your system when 9am rolls around, meaning driving into work may be out of the question.
If you know it’s going to be a heavy night but you have to be in work the next day, don’t take any risks. Book a taxi or alternative transport into work the morning after.
RULE 10: USE SOCIAL MEDIA WISELY
It’s not always a good idea to post photographs of the evening’s shenanigans onto social media. Do you have permission to post your colleagues photo? They may have told their partners, they were working late, or have been invited to a posh restaurant with the management team… Not that we’re condoning telling porky pies, obviously.
Don’t betray their confidences. Don’t let their friends and family see them dancing on the tables in drunken frenzies – always save your posts for when you’ve got a clear head or if you know for certain you’re OK to share.
RULE 11: SAY THANKS
Last but by no means least, always thank the organiser and your boss for hosting a good festive party; either at the party itself, or after the event. There will have been someone who will have organised the food, the drinks, the venues and the festivities, so letting them know they’ve made a great night for everyone really will go a long way.