What happens at office parties DOES NOT stay at office parties!

Nothing says “we’ve reached the end” quite like that year-end office party.  Some companies give extravagant fancy-dress parties while some will have a simple lunch or dinner. Nonetheless, it’s a time to socialise with your colleagues outside of the work environment, and it comes with its own set of rules of which we’ll discuss some right here.

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While the Christmas party can create worries for both employer and employee, it is an event where you can still behave professionally and have fun, and provides a great opportunity to socialize with co-workers and bosses within your company whom you normally don’t have a chance to mingle with. It all comes down to the simple mantra “behave right and you’ll have a great night”. And here are some straightforward suggestions to keep this part of your work’s social event calendar all sorted.

Dress appropriately

Even though you are going to a ‘party” remember that it is still a WORK function and dress accordingly.  If your company has chosen a fancy dress theme and you hate the idea, at least do your best to try and fit in with a little effort rather than nothing.   If the dress code says smart, make the effort and arrive looking classy and elegant. If it’s a casual picnic don’t wear your shortest mini and platform heels that make it impossible to sit down in a ladylike manner let alone navigate the grassy walkways!!  Don’t wear anything too revealing, or that shows too much flesh, or that you’re going to be uncomfortable in for the duration of the function. If you are a close group of girls in the office then perhaps you should do a party shop together and make sure that everyone loves your outfit!

Try to eat as many starters or snacks before you start boozing

If it’s the kind of party where the waiters just keep topping up your wine glass, you can easily lose track of just how many you’ve had. Before you know it and before you’ve even had your main meal, you’re five glasses of champers down and already slurring. Keep your stomach lined with starters and snacks, the greasier the better!!!

Drink Responsibly

Drinking on an empty stomach is asking for trouble. Space all drinks with water and more food, and lots of conversation. Avoid mixing your drinks and stay away from the shooters.

There is nothing worse than having to face your colleagues after the party knowing that you have thrown your proverbial name away.  Although it seems like fun and games keep in mind that the consequences often are just not worth it.

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Be Helpful

If you see a co-worker overdoing the drinking or making an inappropriate move when they are not fully aware, step in and bail them out. Explain to them what they are doing and how it appears to other people. If this doesn’t sink in, discreetly call a cab to take them home. This is one time where your decision-making can save their reputation.

Keep conversation light and interesting

Yes we’ve all had our ups and downs this year, but who wants to discuss the issues we have experienced at work during the year.  This is the time to have fun and focus on happy subjects that make everyone happy.

Do NOT engage in office gossip

Office gossip plus alcohol is a bad combination and won’t end well. Engaging in office gossip is something that you should never entertain but more than ever this is a definite no for an end of year function.  Equally it is important to not discuss all your personal emotional issues with work colleagues, there is a good chance they will be repeated the following week.

Mingle

Don’t get stuck talking to only the people you know. You already work with them daily, so get out and make new connections you can later follow up on. The year-end function is an excellent opportunity to cement relationships and to get known colleagues in other departments in a good way. Prime yourself by learning the names of the senior staff members who will be at the party too. Introduce yourself to everyone at the party. Start at the top and work your way down. There’s nothing to gain from being self-conscious or aloof, so demonstrate you’re a fun team-player and embrace the party spirit.

Don’t be that person who posts embarrassing pictures on social networks

What you might think is hilarious at the time, will only end in tears when your victim discovers their picture has been liked, commented on and retweeted by the entire world.  Equally important, do not be the person that allows yourself to be photographed doing anything inappropriate, the pictures will haunt you forever. 

Don’t spend too much time with the boss

Yes, you’re gunning for a promotion and want to discuss all the great work you’ve been doing throughout the year, but this isn’t the time or place to do so. If you’ve been drinking, you never know what else might slip out, especially if you have grievances with your boss or line manager. And no, this is not the time to demand an increase either. Mingle with everyone and enjoy yourself.

Be Polite

Leave the leftovers. There’s nothing that says “greed” like sneaking out with half the buffet in a doggie bag. After the event, show your consideration by thanking the organisers for their efforts – perhaps with a handwritten note or card. The gesture will make them feel good and do your reputation no harm at all.

If you know you have to work the following day, don’t overdo it at the party

Even though everybody was there and you were all having a good time, you are still an employee and phoning in sick when everyone knows you have a hangover is not a good idea.

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