Top tips for navigating the office Christmas party unscathed

It’s that time of year once again, when you get drunk in front of your boss (or in front of your employees!), photocopy body parts, and flirt with your colleagues. Yes, its Christmas party season!

Back in the midst of the recession in 2009, the BBC reported that the office party was on its way out with more and more businesses asking staff to cover costs of the meal and entertainment. Navigating the office Christmas party become more like avoiding it entirely!

navigating the office Christmas partyYou’ll be glad to know that by 2014 the most awaited seasonal event redeemed itself and last year saw a 30% increase in number of xmas parties taking place.

More than 70,000 people are expected to down their pens, work tools and laptops for Xmas parties their year, with 81% of businesses holding work party events. It is not surprising that the more parties businesses have the more stories we hear flying around the office.

Morgan Pryce, office rental agents in London work with some of the largest office based businesses in the UK. They have heard it all before, so here they divulge their wisdom to help you in navigating the office Christmas party without (too many) mishaps:

1. Watch what you drink

It’s important to remember that during the Xmas season restaurants are over-run with parties and large groups looking for festive fun. Inevitably if your work party is large your food may be delayed and as such it’s always a good idea to have a snack before you start on the wine.

Don’t let the calories run away with you, these simple swaps can reduce calorie and alcohol intake and you will still be enjoying a drink. We’ve designed a great ‘calorie swap’ poster (see end of this article) which shows typical Christmas drinks and their less calorific alternatives.

2. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not work

Although you may not be in your workplace it is still a work event, which means best behaviour and all the pleasantries of work. Just like in the workplace you may be called on speak, make announcements, organise people, or even defuse situations, so keep in mind that your work persona should still be in place.

3. Dress appropriately

The party is a chance to show your flare for fashion but remember to keep it professional – the sexy Santa outfit can stay in the cupboard. Dress up your usual business attire but keep it low-key, so no low tops, shorts skirts, or hairy chests. A bit of sparkle works well for the ladies and is subtle enough to keep the professional edge.

4. Ask before you snap

Before the event it’s good to ask about use of mobiles and cameras. Some companies have asked employees not to take photos or videos at annual parties. Remember that posting photos on social media can cause animosity in the office, or worse case, even ruin the company’s profile. If you want to remember the night then ask your business to hire a professional photographer to take images at the start of the party.

5. Do attend

With so many rules and regulations it can be off-putting deciding to attend a work function. However it is important that you do attend, even if just for part of the evening. A lot of planning goes into the office parties and you need to show you are a part of the team, that you appreciate your colleagues, and you enjoy spending time with them (even if you don’t).

6. Don’t talk shop

Try not to talk about business all night unless you want to be the company bore. Think of some subjects beforehand to discuss but avoid sensitive subjects such as politics, religion or office gossip. Keep it light-hearted and use the party as a chance to find out about your colleagues’ likes, dislikes, and hobbies.

7. Find out who is attending

If partners are invited to the night try and familiarise yourself with names so you are not left questioning who people are around the table. Ask who people are bringing to the event and, if possible, view the seating plan beforehand.

8. Enjoy yourself!

Lastly, remember you are there to have fun, unwind and celebrate a year of hard work. We have made navigating your office Christmas party seem a chore, but it should not be. Take the chance to learn more about your colleagues who you spend most of your week in the company of and to show your personality away from your desk.

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