7 Tips to Help You Stay Out of Trouble at your Work Christmas Party!


It is getting close to the season to be jolly, and therefore the office Christmas party.  Here are some tips for not being the subject of an investigation by HR the next working day:

1. The golden rule of course is don’t sexually harass anyone. 

This goes without saying, or at least it should.  That topic is way too big to cover in one small blog post but alcohol, a party atmosphere, and a general feeling of relaxation of socially acceptable rules can lead to people doing extremely inappropriate things.  Don’t. Just don’t.  If you happen to witness someone being harassed, please don’t just stand by watching someone do this.  Step in, and take the person being set upon away.  Then follow up with them the next day to make the perpetrator apologise.

2. Digital photos and people with cameras are not your friends

Baby boomers are very glad they grew up in the age where digital photos didn’t exist and there was also no internet to instantly upload photos. Social media can be fun –  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are easy ways to share photos.  This also means it is easy for everyone else to see you having SUCH a great time (as you down your 14th bevvie, with another in your other hand).  If you upload photos late in the evening it usually means someone is going to be embarrassed, and DON’T, whatever you do, put your firm name to anything that might cause embarrassment.

Related – beware the photo booth and mistletoe.

3. This is not the time for confessions/complaints

The Christmas Party is not the time for teary confessions of attraction/love or indiscretions.  It is also not the time to tell HR Manager about the number of times you called in sick but actually weren’t – that instead you ‘just couldn’t be ‘f***ed coming to work.’  HR Managers remember all of these conversations because they have to stay sober and be ready to hold someone’s hair back while they are sick.  And they are annoyed already because of that.  Please don’t make it worse for them.

This is also not the time to air grievances about work colleagues or, in fact, the boss.  Especially to the boss! Even if he or she is a (insert your preferred offensive name here) there is no need to say so. That is a very career limiting move.

4. So you think you can dance?

Dirty dancing was a terrific movie – not so great when a very drunk, usually sweaty, person attempts it, especially with someone who doesn’t want to participate.  Oh, and if ‘Whip It’ by Devo comes on, or ‘Wild One’ by Flo Rida & Rihanna – it is never a good idea to jump on someone’s back and pretend to whip that person like a racehorse.  Refer to points 1 and 2 above.

5. Leave at a good time

Nothing good ever comes from staying until 2am.  Leave when you can still get a cab and you’re then not tempted to go back to the party.  Also, if someone from HR or your boss politely suggests, through gritted teeth, that it is time to go home and puts you in a cab, keep going until you get home.  Don’t tell the cab driver to drive around the block and go back in.  Seriously, no matter how witty and erudite you think you are, you’re not.  You are like the bad uncle at Christmas lunch no one wants to sit next to.

6. If the boss makes a speech – don’t heckle.

Chances are he or she is sober and will remember the clown who heckled during the rousing and inspirational  ‘thanks for a wonderful year, have a great night’ speech to the troops.

7. Keep your clothes on

Obvious.  Nothing more needs to be said.