Staff Christmas Party Tips from an Employment Lawyer
As Christmas fast approaches many employees look forward to the party season as a way to get to know colleagues in a social environment. To others, the office Christmas party may conjure up images of uncomfortable ‘secret Santas’ and drunk colleagues being escorted off the premises after overindulging!! Below are some dos and don’ts of office Christmas party etiquette aimed to keep your job, reputation and dignity in one piece as well as ensuring you avoid starting 2015 with an invitation to disciplinary proceedings!
Although the office party is optional it is a good idea to make an appearance. You may dread the thought of spending the evening with people you spend every day with, however, your attendance shows you are part of the team.
The venue will determine the dress code, make sure you know what it is and stick to it.If you are worried then speak to colleagues to see what they are wearing. The office party may not be the place to wear that slinky black dress or the unbuttoned / overly fitted shirt.
Use the party as a networking opportunity. Talk to people in the office that you wouldn’t normally come across, however, avoid talking about work and don’t say things you wouldn’t say on a normal day. The party is your chance to get to know people and make a good impression.
Don’t leave people standing on their own. No matter how much you want to get rid of someone, it is impolite to leave them on their own. Pair them off with someone else before you make your escape. Avoid having conversations that really should be taking place in the office such as those in relation to promotions or pay rises.
Don’t drink too much!
People often see the office party as a chance to take advantage of the free booze and food, but excessive drinking is the number one cause of “incidents”. It is a chance to let your hair down but remember you are still being watched and judged by your superiors. You are still accountable for your actions. Use the office party as a chance to present yourself in the best possible light as opposed to getting trollied. Just because your boss has decided to doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for you to do it to yourself.
The party is a marathon, not a sprint, and you may have a long evening ahead of you. Know your limit and stick to it. Remember, even though it is an informal party it counts as an extension of the workplace (and your employment). There is always going to be one person who takes it to the extreme – and this will be noticed by the vast majority of staff. Do you want to be the person sheepishly going into work on Monday who can’t remember what they did (that everyone is talking about)?
Stay away from office gossip.
Office gossip and alcohol is probably almost never going to end well. Try to avoid gossiping about the party as you may create a situation where a colleague feels bullied or victimised. It’s never sensible to start spreading rumours and avoid confessing your sins to your colleagues after a few too many.
Don’t make a move on a colleague.
Before you make a bee-line for the person you’ve had your eye on all year, do yourself a favour, stop and think whether it’s a good idea – ‘Probably not’, is the likely answer. Avoid the temptation to start talking to that person anywhere near some mistletoe…
Don’t leave too soon.
In most cases, a lot of time and energy has been spent planning the Christmas party. Always stay for a reasonable amount of time, especially if there is a sit-down dinner as leaving early may look unappreciative or antisocial.
Above all, enjoy the party.
Strive to be remembered for the right reasons and ENJOY yourself; the office party is the ideal place to let your hair down and unwind after what’s most likely been a stressful year of work.