Many of us love a good, well organised company Christmas party. A chance for the company to say “thank you” to it’s staff and a chance for the staff to unwind. It’s worth remembering though companies and staff still have a responsibility even if it’s off site. Here’s a few tips.
Advise for companies
Policies & Procedures Once the arrangements for the Office Christmas Party have been organised, take the opportunity to remind staff of company policies and procedures. Stress that any incidents which breach company policy will be dealt with in the same manner, as if it happened on company premises during normal working hours. Emphasise that serious incidents of misconduct will be dealt with in line with the company’s disciplinary procedure, which could result in dismissal in some cases.
Importantly, if a disciplinary incident occurs during a Christmas Party, ensure that you deal with it swiftly and fairly, in-line with stated company policy.
Alcohol. Staff should also be reminded that alcohol must be consumed responsibly at Office Parties. To help avoid the misuse of alcohol, ensure there is plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food readily available. Don’t pressurise any staff members into drinking alcohol. More tips around the use of alcohol are available from www.drinkaware.ie
Duty of Care. As an employer, remember that you have a duty of care towards your staff and therefore have a responsibility to ensure that they get home safely. Encourage employees to pre book taxis.
Give a choice If an employee does not want to attend the Christmas Office Party, due to personal or religious beliefs, this choice should be respected by the employer.
Advise for staff
Try to attend. Even if you despise the thought of spending a whole evening with the people you work with every day, it’s a good idea to make an appearance. It shows that you are part of the team.
Don’t dress inappropriately. And do dress professionally. The venue will determine the dress code so make sure you know what it is. “Women are advised to stay away from slinky dresses, low-plunging necklines, short-short skirts or tight-fitting trousers”, according to workplace etiquette expert Pamela Holland. And, men “should refrain from unbuttoning more than two buttons on their shirts and wearing overly fitted shirts that show off their muscles”.
Do some schmoozing. This is a good time to talk to people you wouldn’t normally come across and, of course, the boss. This could help you in the long term in terms of forging alliances, helping to get things done or just raising your profile. But…
… Don’t talk shop. Do you want to be seen as the office bore? The office party gives you the chance to get to know people as people not just ‘Julie from accounts’.
Do drink in moderation. Excessive drinking is the number one cause of office party ‘incidents’. Remember, it is a marathon not a sprint and it is likely that you will have a long evening ahead of you. But, by the time you realise this you may have already consumed enough alcohol to sink a battleship and not quite be with it. Stick to your limit, drink slowly or alternate between alcohol and water and, if it’s too late for that, then switch to soft drinks and mince pies. And resist the temptation to indulge in tequila shots or flaming drambuie or you may end up losing more than your inhibitions!
Don’t make a move on a colleague. After a few hours and a few beers even Barbara from credit control can look like a goddess. But, before you make a bee-line for the person you’ve had your eye on all year, do yourself a favour, stay put and think, ‘Is this a good idea?’ ‘Probably not’, is the likely answer.
Do watch your language. Remember the reason why you are at the Christmas party in the first place is because you have a job. Avoid saying things you wouldn’t say on a normal office day.
Don’t leave too soon. Tequila slammers with the girls from HR may be more appealing than your department’s party, but, unless you have made a holy show of yourself, stay for at least a couple of hours even if it is the most boring party ever. After all, it’s your boss that you need to impress when it comes to getting a promotion.
Above all, enjoy the party. Strive to be remembered for the right reasons and not for your lustful antics or David Brent dancing. In the words of the great man himself from “The Office”, when asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied: “Simply, as, the man who put a smile on the face of all who he met.”
Have a great AND safe time.