The festive season is upon us again and as well as frantic shopping, tear-jerker department store adverts and one too many mince pies, many of us will have a Christmas party to attend.
Now, I’m aware that some organisations have decided to forgo the Christmas do again this year, but for those who are still donning their Christmas jumpers and letting their hair down for an office bash, this blog is for you.
Think of me as the Ghost of HR Future, visiting you to remind you that Christmas parties are still work events, and if you behave badly, you could be ringing in the New Year with a P45.
Every year, I send my clients what I call the ‘bah humbug!’ email. It’s a little reminder for them to send out to staff about behaving appropriately at the Christmas party. We’ve all heard tales of photocopied bottoms and misused mistletoe – and believe me, I’ve seen it all!
My first top tip would be, even if alcohol is on offer, keep your consumption to a sensible limit. Our inhibitions drop when we’re boozing, and I’ve come across people who’ve been loose lipped after a Lambrini or a bit handsy after too many shandies. Telling your boss what you really think of them after too many shots is a quick way to a disciplinary!
My second tip is to keep romance away from the workplace. Getting caught with your pants down on work time can lead to embarrassment in the cold light of day. This goes without saying, but be particularly mindful if your intended is married/in a relationship or your line manager…
My third tip is avoid having a ‘smashing’ time. If your employer is old school, and hosting the party at the office, resist the urge to sit on the photocopier or to spill your drink on a computer. If you’re out at a venue (and again, this goes without saying) don’t break anything or take anything that doesn’t belong to you.
My final piece of advice is let the only dusting of snow be on the ground, not under your nose. I’ve dealt with a number of New Year dismissals caused by illegal drug use at a Christmas event, something which most (if not all) workplaces have a zero-tolerance policy on. I don’t know how to say this more clearly than DO NOT TAKE DRUGS AT WORK!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. My tree is up and I’m singing along to Slade and Wizard as we speak, but I’ve also got decades of experience of tricky conversations after festive f*** ups!
So, follow my advice: eat, drink and be merry (in moderation, of course!)