Dec 6, 2013

Office Christmas Parties: The definitive survival guide

The office party is a unique Christmas cocktail whose ingredients, if mixed correctly, equal fun for all. However, it also offers ample opportunity for a whole number of faux pas. To help you navigate the treacherous waters of the festive bash, we’ve compiled the following tips. You can thank us later (around 9am the next day)!

Of course it goes without saying the first rule is:

Do not have too much to drink

Be warned. Drinking excessive amounts at the office Christmas party can lead to some or all of the following:

  • Ideas: After a few beers you may be tempted to share your thoughts on how to run the company with your boss. There’s a decent chance they won’t be well received.
  • Making a move on a colleague: The direct road to weeks of gossip, and perhaps the most ignominious act you can commit at an office party. This is generally a real no; it’s unsightly and awkward.
  • Twerking: The OED’s newest word should not be the newest trend at office parties. It’s unsightly and awkward.
  • 'Extreme behaviour’: This includes things like driving golf carts into rivers and/or riding Ferris wheels in the nude. All of these have happened at Christmas parties. All of these are unacceptable.
  • Social network-related hilarity: Do make sure to sign out of Facebook, Twitter and the rest. This way none of your ‘hilarious’ colleagues get a chance to tamper with anything. (N.B. If you think there may be conspicuous photos the morning after, you might want to stay signed out for a while).

If all else fails, and that last eggnog proves just too tempting, some words of advice from a fellow Genie: “Make sure someone’s drunker than you”. That’s the (Christmas) spirit!

Do dress appropriately

The occasion does give you an opportunity to dress to impress, and by all means make the effort. Go wild, crack out a Christmas jumper!

It is, however, important to remember it’s December out there and we are at the mercy of winter, so come prepared for it. This is not a night out in Newcastle. Unless of course it is, then normal rules apply.

Do not ask to work from home the next day

No-one will buy this, everyone knows you intend to spend the day in bed, watching Breaking Bad, with a headache, quietly sobbing. Although, this is better than going into the office, crawling under a desk and dozing off. This happens more than you would expect

Do talk about things other than work…

...if possible. As the people who run corporate away days might say, “use this as an opportunity to learn about your colleagues as individuals, not co-workers”. Share a joke, find a common interest; the possibilities are endless. To get you started, here are a few work-related things to avoid:

  • Marketing speak: Although it might be tempting to ask when you might next ‘touch base’ with someone, avoid such phrases. If you want to get to know your colleagues as real people, it’s best to talk like one.
  • Money: Asking for a pay rise is not the thing to do after making full use of a free bar.
  • The word ‘spreadsheet’: It’s just dull enough at the best of times.

Do not get carried away with it though

Closely related to the point about your ‘ideas’, there are a number of non-work related topics that should remain off-limits. With the mulled wine flowing it can be tempting to take the conversation too far; tread carefully.

For example, an anonymous HR professional told me: “As a young man I wouldn’t want to be the one who tells the boss how fit their daughter is”. Quite.

But most importantly do...

...have fun (or at least try to make it look like you are), it is Christmas after all!


Joe Posted on December 19, 2013

A couple curiously left off this.. 1) Do 'borrow' a bottle of Bombay Sapphire from the bar 2) Do get turned away from a night club for being too drunk

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