With the office Christmas party season now in full swing, how do you survive the festive season without any mishaps?
Dodgy dancing, loads of alcohol and loose lips makes the office Christmas party a minefield of potentially embarrassing mistakes and opportunities for demotion or worse. So how do you go about navigating these treacherous waters? Here are some do’s and don’ts from some decorum experts who know the appropriate way to behave. Whether you heed them is another matter…
Stay away from office gossip
Don’t gossip or spread rumors. Confessing your sins to colleagues or worse clients is never sensible.
Keep small talk general, come well prepared with a few social icebreakers, families, sport, children, and vacations should be safe areas.
Take it from me office gossip and alcohol is never going to end well, best stay well away.
Don’t drink too much
Generally, people make the mistake that the office Christmas party is that it is still a work-related event rather than “Great, free drink, free food, might as well get merry.” Letting your hair down maybe OK but you will still be judged by your superiors and your actions are still accountable.
You should be seeing this an opportunity to be seen in the best possible light as opposed to getting completely and utterly drunk and making a fool of yourself. Just because the boss gets smashed does not mean that this is a signal for you to do the same.
Alcohol-fueled romance is often something that comes to the attention of the office gossip, around 20pc of staff admitted to having kissed a colleague at a staff party, 3% said it “went further” and 14pc said they flirted with their boss.
The other end of the spectrum is that 2% of employees chose the office party to resign!
The firm’s Christmas party definitely is not the place to wear that slinky black number, and contrarily that ill-fitting suit that stinks of moth balls and has been gathering dust in the back of your closet.
It is always s advisable to stick to a dress code, asking colleagues what they are wearing does not always come with a good result “Oh we are all dressing up as Elves” or “Didn’t you know it’s a Roman Toga party?” have led to great embarrassment for some. Know who to trust!
Don’t trap people in very long conversations
An easy trap to fall into is that you find someone you get along well with, who you want to talk to and you stay with them for the entire evening. No matter how nice you are there is a strong possibility that that person may want to talk to other people and other people may well want to talk to that them.
Don’t hog people, 10 or 15 minutes is acceptable, remember to mingle.
Don’t leave too early
Try to stay for a reasonable amount of time, especially if there is a sit-down dinner. Leaving early may look antisocial or unappreciative. Most the time a great deal of time and money has been spent planning and them paying for the Christmas party. It is not appropriate to leave after just an hour or as soon as the dinner has finished
The Christmas office party is the ideal place to let your hair down and unwind (a little) after what may have been a stressful year.
Although invites can say optional. They rarely are, it is a good idea to make an appearance. Even if you loathe the thought of spending even more time with the people you work with day in day out, making that appearance will show them that you really are a part of the team.
It is a great opportunity to boost company morale, and sometimes such a night is all that’s needed to turn colleagues into friends.
Mr Hanson said: “You should use the opportunity to talk to people in the office, perhaps that are higher up, who you have been desperate to talk to for the whole year and haven’t been able to. Use it to social network and to make a good impression, rather than thinking I am going to bond with my colleagues.
Circulating can only be a good thing, broadening your network is an essential part of being successful nowadays .
Simple but obvious, always have one hand free to shake hands
You need to ensure you have one hand free all the time, don’t have plate and glass, and if you are being sensible you will hold your drink in your left hand so you can still shake with your right.
It just looks rude if you don’t shake hands. Hopefully your host will have the foresight to make sure there are plenty of surfaces available for people to put stuff on.
If the party is being hosted by someone at work, bring a small gift and send a thank you note after. If you are unsure who organized the party send a thank you note to bosses.
Avoid flowers on these occasions as there may not be an abundance of vases and water.
Don’t leave people standing on their own
If you are unlucky and find yourself stuck with someone terribly boring and you want leave it is impolite to wander off and leave them on their own. Ideally you should pair them off with someone else by saying something like, “You know I have just seen so-and-so, I must go and talk to them, by the way have you met so-and-so and introduce them to someone else before you make your escape.
Office parties can be loud affairs and require you to move close to hear your colleague speaking, halitosis and/or BO are not something to be proud of, carry mints and especially if you think you may be dancing or getting hot, wear plenty of deodorant and perfume/after shave, just don’t over do it.