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Christmas is a time of celebration both at home and in the office. For employers it is a chance to reward your staff for a year of hard work, and to boost staff morale.

In an ideal world the office Christmas party is a chance for employees to relax and socialise with colleagues from all across the company. But for many, the idea of the office Christmas party fills you with a sense of festive dread.

If that sounds familiar, Office Genie, the only office search engine that allows small businesses, startups and freelancers to search all types of office space for rent, has sourced some essential advice form business thought leaders on surviving these festivities as both an employer and an employee.

Cyrielle Bourgeois from Expert Market UK who offer free service to help source the best office equipment and services for your business needs,has provided us with insight on spending an evening socialising with people you only know in a professional context:

“Remember the importance of socialising, including new people, meeting and having discussions with colleagues you rarely see, but remind yourself you remain at a business event after all so keep some things to yourself, there are things about your life you should not share and that other employees do not need to know. Also do not use this event to be-friend your directors and climb the ladder quicker, you just won’t!”

Kelsey Goeres from MyCorporationwho provide online document filing services for clients looking to form a corporation or limited liability company,offers insight into the temptations of blowing off steam when alcohol enters into the equation:

“There are plenty of opportunities to let loose and drink too much during the holidays, the office party is not one of them. Socializing in a relaxed atmosphere, dancing, and even partaking in karaoke are all well and good until you’ve had five too many drinks. Don’t be afraid to have fun, but try not to shatter anyone’s professional view of you. And keep in mind that someone will surely be documenting the party for social media purposes. There is no what happens at the holiday party, stays at the holiday party.”

If you think you have strength in numbers when your party invitation includes a plus one, Roy Cohen, Career Coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide provides hints and tips on assigning your wingman:

“File this tip under lessons learned. If the holiday invitation includes a guest or spouse, exercise good judgment. Do you have reason to worry that your date will embarrass you? A client of mine brought her boyfriend (now ex) to a Christmas party at her boss’s house in the suburbs. He drank like a fish and spent most of the evening chatting up, and huddling intimately with, the boss’s wife. My client was peeved and embarrassed. Her boss was furious. At the time, she had no idea that her boss and his wife were in marriage counselling and about to separate.”

If you’re an employer reading this, you may be starting to question your decision to throw an event. Fear not, Emma Wellard, Employment Law Solicitor with Wright Hassall, has some sound advice on how to conduct any necessary pre-emptive damage control:

“Employers will want their staff to enjoy themselves at the Christmas party but with the alcohol flowing it is easy for problems to arise.  Don’t put policies and procedures on the New Years’ resolutions list – communicating with staff on what won’t be tolerated and getting the right policies in place beforehand will ensure that a good time will be had by all.”

Many employers will have been organising this event months in advance, and it is an opportunity to spend time with people you may only ever speak to in passing or via email. No matter where you are having your office Christmas party, remember to have fun!