Management December 14, 2011 Last updated September 18th, 2018 601 Reads share

To Party Or Not To Party

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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.”

Catherine A Connors

Catherine A Connors

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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