As the festive season gets underway it brings with it the obligatory Office Christmas Party, an event filled with fun, laughter and pitfalls. Traditional mishaps include snogging bosses, the photocopying of swimsuit areas and drunkenly falling down the stairs. While inherently funny, there’s no longer room for behaviour like this in the modern workplace. To help you through these difficult times, we’ve compiled eight tips to save you from disaster. Remember, your professional reputation might be at risk – one person’s top form is another’s utter train-wreck.
DON’T: Under no circumstance reveal the real you
Don’t objectively discuss with co-workers the allure of Susan from Accounts’ body. While you might think you’re simply sharing your admiration, it’s marking you out as an indiscreet pervert. Also, don’t get caught hoovering drugs in the toilet or indulging in salacious gossip about co-workers. The only office where any of these traits will help you get ahead is public office.
DO: Keep your hands to yourself
There you are, single and ready to mingle. You’re 84kg of love machine, clad in a polyester suit and Santa hat. You’re simply irresistible. Susan from Accounts looks dreamier than ever, so you move in for a kiss. Monday afternoon brings an uncomfortable conversation with Derek from HR, about a sexual misconduct complaint.
DON’T: Panic at the disco
If your company is big enough, they’ve probably engaged the questionable talents of an inane charisma-vacuum. Yes, it’s a DJ. He’ll be ‘spinning’ the popular dance hits of today, issuing crap platitudes over the microphone and wishing he hadn’t screwed up that residency in Ibiza. Hopefully the crowd will be drunk enough to hit the dancefloor. There are some moves you should avoid: The Slut Drop, The Pogo, Cha Cha Slide, Flossing, Rhumba. Only Twerk against your manager’s partner if you have written consent.
DO: Dress for work
This is not the time to test-drive the new zany look you’re developing. If you wouldn’t wear something to the office, don’t wear it to the Christmas bash. The only time a sexy outfit is appropriate is if you work in a massage parlour, for the Fire Service or are a D-list celebrity pitifully vying for tabloid coverage. Santa suits are also a hard no, especially if you’re likely to demand people sit on your knee.
DON’T: Drink too much
Avoid getting more pissed than your boss or line manager. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and affects judgment. People are there to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, not arm-wrestle you topless, repeatedly hear the same stupid story or have you cry on their shoulder about why your girlfriend doesn’t understand your love of Harry Potter. This is a shortcut to stacking your career and everyone will talk about you on Monday. The only exception to this rule is if a sales director has just decked Derek the HR rep. In that case drink as quickly as possible, the night is about to come crashing down.
Your employer has spent time and energy setting this whole affair up, so make a good impression and turn up. Thank the person responsible for their efforts in turning your sorry social diary right around. Even more so, if you’re the firm’s new person. Who knows? It might just be fun.
DO: Be aware
It’s a party, so you can let go a little. You are however essentially on work time. Your boss and colleagues are all there (apart from Darren, who couldn’t make it because he had literally anything else to do that evening). It’s not the best time to platform your brave immigration policy, discuss which member of the Royal Family is the ugliest or debut your new portmanteau offensive term. In contrast, don’t spend all your time looking at your phone or in a corner with the same person. You’re being just as anti-social.
DO: Use the opportunity
The office party is a good place to get to know colleagues better. You can foster better relationships and stronger understandings. If you work in a corporate environment, it’s a great idea to make people higher up the food chain aware of your existence. Don’t just talk business though, reveal an interesting and unconfrontational side to your personality.