On the second day of Christmas - plans for the office Christmas Party were underway. Better remind staff about expected behaviour

Posted on 26 November 2013

The Office Christmas Party  -  How to avoid turning “Celebration” into “Nightmare”

The staff Christmas party is an event that should be a fun celebration for all as the year comes to a close. But for some, this one event could be their employment nightmare as either the victim or perpetrator of inappropriate behaviour. The New Year may then not start in the expected way.

Christmas parties usually involve letting your hair down, having fun, a few drinks and getting to socialise with colleagues, some of whom you may not normally spend much time with. They are also meant to be a time to draw everyone together to celebrate the year’s achievements as a team. But when alcohol consumption is high, personalities clash or the girl / guy you have secretly had a crush on are not interested, trouble could be brewing.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK suggests that 10% of workers know a colleague who has either been disciplined or dismissed for inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas party. That is a considerable number of people behaving badly. Reasons for discipline include fighting, threatening behaviour, sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination or just general inappropriate behaviour.

Here are a few tips to make your Christmas party experience an enjoyable one:

  • Organise how you will get to and home from the party venue safely.
  • Don’t drink too much.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion.
  • Avoid behaviour which could be construed as discriminatory or bullying and avoid flirting. You don’t want a sexual harassment claim brought against you.
  • Don’t bring a guest if the invitation is only for you.
  • Keep to conversation topics which will not offend. Don’t discuss customers, colleagues or confidential employer information. It’s a great time to speak with colleagues you don’t always have the opportunity to.
  • Remember there may be people at the party who are partners of colleagues so include them and make them feel welcome.
  • Don’t Tweet or post on Facebook any photos or comments about colleagues or management.
  • Don’t be the last one to leave.

 The office Christmas party is another official work event and the same policies and protocols exists as do during work hours throughout the year.
Have fun and enjoy the party.