London - ‘Tis the season season for the office Christmas party, but for many employees the lasting memory of the big bash is often a sheepish, hungover expression the next morning.
Whether it’s loudly telling your boss a few home truths, passing out on a photocopier or kindling an office romance in full view of your colleagues - your work’s social event of the year can quickly turn into a night of shame.
According to a survey by restaurant chain TGI Friday, more than a quarter of employees feared they would be unable to resist telling their boss exactly what they thought of them. And 1 percent of employees admitted they had chosen the occasion to hand in their notice.
So here’s a list of Dos and Don’ts to ensure that, in the cold light of day, your colleagues will still view you as a social butterfly and not a social pariah. And according to Liz Wyse, spokesperson for etiquette publisher Debrett’s, the Christmas party could even be the perfect chance to win career brownie points.
“Remember to relax and enjoy the Christmas spirit, but be aware that how you conduct yourself may still be noticed by your manager,” she says.
You can, however, turn this to your advantage, Mrs Wyse adds. “The office party is actually a great opportunity to impress your bosses. Everyone is relaxed, and it’s possible to speak to the most senior people in your company to whom you might not normally have access.”
But she advises that no matter how ambitious you are, cornering your manager for hours on end or keeping the conversation focused on yourself are pitfalls to be avoided.
Also make sure you don’t get a reputation as the office bore.
Remember that while your list of gripes or the intricate details of your tiddlywinks hobby might be fascinating to you, not everyone shares your interests. Although your colleagues might listen politely, it’s unlikely they will really want to be burdened with heavy work-related issues or with your personal problems.
Mrs Wyse advises: “Try to keep conversation interesting and upbeat. If your colleague has a family, remember to ask about them. And once the conversation is coming to a natural end, politely move on and speak to someone else.”
Even if you love a good gossip over a glass of wine, resist using the party as an opportunity to discuss your colleagues’ failings or racy love lives, and steer clear of spreading rumours. “Nor do you want to give the impression of being the office whinger, so keep moans to a minimum,” adds Mrs Wyse.
According to dating website Match.com, the workplace is where most Britons meet their future partner. But if Cupid strikes at your office bash, pairing up with your conquest under the mistletoe while your boss looks on is to be avoided. If romance is on the cards, find the exit.
“Lots of people do find their future partner at work, but remember where you are and keep things discreet, away from prying eyes,” Mrs Wyse advises.
Finally, make sure you enjoy a tipple or two, but try to avoid a terrifying transformation from prim office worker to raging party animal. And take care when you are under the influence of alcohol if you use Twitter and other social media: a poorly worded post could well be enough to get you your P45.
“Remember to eat properly, drink enough water and stay off the shots. Have a good time, but don’t be the source of gossip the next day,” adds Mrs Wyse.
A bit of over-indulgence is not the end of the world, but be sure to make up for it by arriving at work on time the next day.
* Party planner Joe Blackman attends dozens of company bashes every year and sees the best and worst of workers’ Christmas capers.
Joe says: “The most important piece of advice is not to get very drunk in front of your boss.
“At one event at a hotel last year, someone drank so much they passed out once they got back to their room. Unfortunately, they had switched on the shower beforehand and the steam set off the fire alarm. Everyone staying in the hotel, including the party-goer’s boss, had to be evacuated from the building.
“I imagine there were a few red faces the next day.”
Mr Blackman, 27, who runs his own London-based business Greenantevents, says anyone considering a career in party planning should be ready for hard work. “It’s a hugely rewarding career and great fun, but you have to be totally passionate and committed. It’s not a job for people who just like to do the nine-to-five,” he says. - Daily Mail