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Work Christmas Party Etiquette

Joanna Clare

The inevitable Christmas party season is almost upon us. It is a time for staff to get together at the end of the year. Most offices and workplaces will be organising their own version of a festive celebration for all members of their staff, often as a thank you for a whole year of hard work.

Some parties could be rather formal affairs consisting of just a few colleagues enjoying a festive meal and partaking in pleasant and polite chit chat over a glass of mulled wine. On the other end of the seasonal scale there are other parties which are rather extravagant with no expense spared and where the food and drink flow endlessly - and of course, there are other parties that fit somewhere in between the two.

Although it is something that is eagerly anticipated, problems can arise. Often when a group of colleagues mingle in a relaxed atmosphere and a totally different environment from work, they feel less inhibited and more confident. Whilst that is inevitably a good thing as it is interesting to get to know a colleague better, alcohol can make people say and do things totally out of character. However,once something is said, it can never be taken back.

I am certain that many of us have all witnessed some type of inappropriate behaviour at a work Christmas party that we wish we had not - whether it be ourselves or a colleague. From drunken brawls to colleagues getting a little too friendly under the mistletoe. Unfortunately, these incidents are seldom forgotten and we are often embarrassingly reminded of them year after year.

It is important to remember that despite it being an extremely jolly time where we can let our hair down, dress up and enjoy being with our colleagues, we still need to bear in mind that this is in essence an extension of work. Therefore, professionalism should still be maintained at all times because legally, your employer may be liable for any misconduct even though you are not in the office environment.

Be mindful of your own alcohol tolerance and that of your colleagues. Do not take photographs unless you have your colleagues permission and the same is said for posting any pictures onto social media platforms. Keep conversation pleasant and decent and include everyone.Never single anyone out or exclude them for whatever reason - these are your colleagues who you have to work with each day and some people do struggle because of the expectations that Christmas brings. Offer the same respect as you would if you were at work. Be kind and considerate.

On a lighter note, a Christmas party, however big or small, can bring colleagues closer together and evoke feelings of admiration, appreciation, respect, friendship and camaraderie.

This year's Christmas party could be unforgettable but hopefully not for all the wrong reasons!

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