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To Party Or Not To Party

That is the question…. However it’s a question that seems a little clouded regarding the Office Christmas Party,

The following article will give a few guidelines to those who will attend their office party the stress free way.  But also for companies/businesses on how they expect their staff to behave at such events.

With the holiday season right around the corner many people will have their Christmas party coming up in the next couple of weeks.  We all have heard of ‘stories’ surrounding the Office party, some that fall under the heading of ‘humorous’ and others falling under the heading of ‘horror’.

Either way when events unfold that create a ‘story’ it isn’t much fun for those involved, and even worse is that employees leave themselves open to disciplinary action, including possible dismissal, if they misbehave.

So what to do….

Companies/Businesses who do consider that the Christmas Office party is not an environment where employees can let their hair down and do as they wish,  should make this clear to staff members beforehand.

Employers do need to communicate in advance with their staff as to what is expected of them in terms of behavior, either with a memo or a staff email to all making sure to list what behavior is unacceptable, what is expected regarding company policy (if this applies to your business) and possible disciplinary action.  This clears up any confusion later.

On the other hand with Office parties taking place out of hours and off the premises should make no difference in Companies looking after the welfare of the employees by creating a safe and healthy environment.  Again this is another good reason to communicate with employees beforehand.  It’s a bit late once the 1st of January comes around.

  • What to wear – this is your opportunity to shine in front of managers or your boss, it is one of the few cases where ‘less is more’ does not apply.  Take care with how you dress heading out to meet co-workers and managers/bosses.  Dressing smart but relaxed is a good bet, don’t show off too much flesh.
  • How to Behave – mingle with co-workers, break out of your own comfort zone and chat with others who you don’t always have the time or opportunity to see on a regular basis.  This is also the perfect chance to get a few words with your boss or manager, do a little detective work beforehand and find out if they have any hobbies or interests that you might share, this is a great ice-breaker, if for example your boss is also a lover of golf as you are then use this information to your advantage.  How you behave at such events can and often is noticed… so if you are hoping to have a chance at that promotion in the New Year then this is your opportunity to shine.
  • Social Media NO NO – I recall a case where an employee, under the influence of alcohol, tweeted more than she should about co-workers and managers during an Office Party that resulted in the termination of her job in the New Year.  If you’re planning to have a little tibble then don’t ‘Tibble & Tweet’, watch out for camera lens also if you don’t fancy a Facebook tag the following day.
  • Make mine a diet coke – You can still enjoy yourself, but remember the environment you’re in during the office party. There’s often pressure to have fun & ‘let your hair down’ at such an event and sometimes this means we drink more than we intend, but alcohol reduces our inhibitions and we can end up saying or behaving in a manner we would not like to be remembered for in the New Year.

Also waking up with a killer hangover and not being able to remember the night before won’t leave the best impression with colleagues or your managers.

If you feel tempted to over-indulge, remind yourself of how damaging an inappropriate action can be on your career in the New Year.  Of course the best is to avoid alcohol altogether and leave at a responsible time.

I wish you a Wonderful Christmas Party and remember to take care and be safe.

What other advice would you give to anyone getting ready for their Christmas Party?

“Image: business people singing at Christmas party/Shutterstock.”

I am a Stress Management Coach (also a Holistic & Natural therapist and teacher). I am dedicated to managing stress, resilience and well-being, my training courses and consultancy are designed to help create a working (or home) environment where resilience is enhanced and well-being is protected, allowing people to respond positively to challenges and perform at their best. I provide in-house training courses, consultancy and workshops to private and public sector organisations (also one-on-one sessions). I specialise in providing practical training for managers and employees aimed at minimising the risk of stress and enhancing well-being within the organisation.

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  • Another great post, Catherine! lol, I agree with you about social media and Xmas parties, a potentially bad combo. In saying that, people need to aware that if you misbehave, your behavior now may be captured so be careful out there. Oh and Happy Xmas! 🙂  

  • I agree Niall, with camera phones and social media most of the world can be aware of what you are up at your Christmas Party before the hangover even has a chance to set in… 🙂

  • I was just discussing this topic with a friend of mine in another time zone. Office holiday parties are necessary to demonstrate a token of thanks and morale well being to your employees. The better you want your employees to feel, the better the party. If some ‘get out of hand’, you’ve learned something about them. If there are photos taken, then ‘they’ have learned something. Correctness has it’s place during normal business hours, but loosen the ties once a year and you’ll be amazed at the improved staff morale.

  • Roisin Bell

    Ideally most people will have plenty of other Christmas parties and nights out, and so won’t feel the need to go completely mad at the office party. 

    Let your hair down when you’re with friends or family instead! 

    By all means relax and enjoy yourself at the office party (much will be forgiven on a night like that – or should be!) but don’t go along planning to go completely bananas – it’s not necessary and not worth it.

  • I agree Roisin, keep the bananas for family and friends 🙂

  • I agree that the tie can be loosened Kevin, the Office Party can be a fun relaxed event for all 🙂

  • Well done guys – I love this list. I think I may be no.11 lol

  • Thanks Niall. Totally. I’ve done a few myself especially in the early days. It’s the learning and moving on is key.

  • WTF Sian? ha ha. I think we’re all guilty of some parts. It’s not overdoing and learning from as you go that counts.

  • Elish Bul-Godley

    Dammit I realized I belong to a category off this chart – that of being the consummate List Builder, The bane of literary longform journalists

  • Helen Cousins

    Great job of naming the disorders there Eilish and Connor. I think it’s nearly impossible not to be a tiny bit guilty of some of those on occasion 🙂
    Thank goodness for mute on twitter clients, ‘cos some ‘circle jerkers’ have their own hashtags (aka spamtags) and woe betide anyone who wonders why!
    One thing I often wonder about (but hardly dare to ask!) is why people post about their children at all on social media platforms. For those in business, I’m uncomfortable to see them posting pictures of young children among their business posts, although some of the people that do it seem like really nice, rational people. Sure, it makes them seem human(!) and it increases engagement, but why are they doing it, really? And what are they doing? Are they being honest about their motives to themselves even? Yet, some little children are growing up on Twitter, watched by complete strangers. What do you guys think?

  • I think it’s probably generally for genuine reasons (not always). I just think some people fall into the trap of not only thinking their children are the most amazing in the world (which they should) but thinking that everybody else wants to see and hear about them. I for one, don’t. If I want to experience Fatherhood I’ll go visit my nephews and nieces, not stalk the pages of other parents ha ha. I also think as Elish highlights above in the post it’s just not safe and I actually think that it makes a lot of people uncomfortable, men especially. The odd funny post with a priceless expression is always worth a chuckle though. Like Elish says, in moderation is funny and engaging. Otherwise, calm it people!

  • Great list. I am always amazed what people do and post online. I read recently that you can view social media as theater where people can act out their emotions without having to be physically near someone. In that context some of the bizarre behavior makes sense…

  • Ha which one Belinda? Thanks for reading!

  • Great analogy. Will use that one for sure. Thanks for reading Michael.

  • Elish Bul-Godley

    Well spotted – I know someone who has already started a twitter account for his 4 yr old by the way.
    Am not militantly against having your kids up but it has to be in a secure circle like family on facebook or a socially close circle on G+ for example . It really makes sense for me to share albums with my globally dispersed family on FB for example or better still in a secure family FB group but wouldn’t dream of doing this on Every Instagram pic or twitter which is universally accessed. I get distressed when I see check-ins into home addresses and schools for example with kid in tow as this just invites so much trouble.

  • Elish Bul-Godley

    i guess there is an argument for Social media being a useful place for venting. in addition very useful if used intelligently. Google’s use of Search terms helps detect disease hotpsots inthe states for example or many a stockbroking firm must be reading sentiment via twitter algortihms surely

  • Thanks Belinda. I meant which acronym you weren’t sure about?

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