Christmas is a time we tend to indulge. It’s not uncommon for many of us to eat a little too much, slack off the gym and have a few more tipples than usual. It’s also a time for celebration, with the annual Christmas party a highlight for many employees who use it as a chance to blow off steam with colleagues, as they reflect on the past year at work.
However, this can come with significant risk. Whilst Christmas parties should be a time to bond with colleagues and have a good time, having a little too much fun could be to the detriment of your career. Last year, a survey conducted by OnePoll revealed that 1 in 3 office workers has done something they regret at a holiday party, while research from The CIPD found that 1 in 10 people know someone from their organisation who has either been disciplined or sacked for inappropriate behaviour.
So, how can you have a jolly time without overstepping the mark or waking up the next morning lamenting, ‘oh, oh, oh’? Here are our top tips to help you survive the office Christmas party and avoid the naughty list:
Stay 2 drinks behind your boss (or the client) at ALL TIMES
When the drinks are flowing it can be easy to lose track of how many you’ve had. However, to avoid any reputational headaches, know your limits and don’t try to keep up. Always be in control and if you start to feel this slipping, drink water and fast – everyone’s tolerances are different so don’t feel the pressure to match others drink for drink. Alcohol causes a loss of inhibitions and affects our decision-making process, which is most likely to trigger something you’ll regret the next day. So, if you’re drinking alcohol, keep to a steady pace and know when to stop.
Don’t get loose lipped
We all like a gossip, especially after a mulled wine or 3. However, remember that while you may be getting on with colleagues famously in that moment in time, it doesn’t mean a throwaway comment won’t come back to bite you. You never know about other relationships within a business or where loyalties lie. Keep to safe topics – after all, the Christmas party is meant to be fun, so don’t add any unnecessary drama into the mix.
There’s nothing worse than turning up to a room full of people and feeling out of place. A way to avoid this is to read the invite and sense check any wardrobe decisions beforehand with colleagues. While the odd comedy outfit will add extra merriment, make sure it’s not going to fall flat with senior management.
Put your phone away
Of course, you want to document your fantastic night with your colleagues. However, don’t get too Instagram happy when you’ve had a few. It’s likely colleagues and acquaintances will have a cheeky profile stalk if they’re tagged in photos, so don’t let them see a steady stream of photos showing you enjoying the night a little too much. Take a few choice shots and then put your phone away. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Make sure you’re still on form the next day
The morning after the night before can end up being the moment when you regret not booking annual leave like some of your colleagues. But if you’re in work the next day it’s important to plan your day. Whilst employers might be more lenient, they’ll still expect you to work professionally and productively. Plan for meetings, making sure that anything important is scheduled for the afternoon when you’re likely to be more switched on.