Keep mishaps under wraps at the office Christmas do

As we approach the last working week before Christmas, offices around the country are gearing up for the Xmas bash. Simon Culmer from comms firm Avaya has this advice on how to ensure your office party is free of festive 'faux pas'.

by Simon Culmer
Last Updated: 01 Nov 2013

Financiers bank on having a good time

Adhering to their reputation as party animals, people who work in finance are the most likely to regret their behaviour at the Christmas party. What’s more, according to a survey of 2,000 workers by OnePoll on behalf of Avaya, well over a third of the UK’s number crunchers said their embarrassment was a result of over-indulgence at the bar.

This is worrying, especially as a fifth of finance professionals expect this year’s Christmas party to be bigger and better than ever before. In an industry known to work hard and play hard it’s probably inevitable that there will be a few sore heads in the morning but bosses can help minimise the damage – and the embarrassment - with a polite request to the senior management to lead by example. Have fun, let your hair down but don’t do anything you wouldn’t like your mother, wife or girlfriend to see on YouTube is probably a good maxim to go by!

Public Sector staff need a bit of encouragement to get into the thick of it

Public sector workers seem to be a bit reluctant to join in the fun with just short of a third of them saying the Christmas party is a real inconvenience and more than half admitting they’d rather stay at home than attend! Yet 40% also say the Christmas party is a great opportunity to get to know their co-workers. The best way to get the party started amongst reticent colleagues is to host the bash as close to your offices as possible. With two thirds of public sector workers admitting that the best thing about the office do is the ‘free festive fizz’, my bet is that once you get them there, it won’t be long before a few of them have forgotten where home is!
IT staff: Musical chairs could be the key

People in IT spend much of their time worrying about how to keep information and data safe but, according to our survey, they’re also the most likely to embarrass themselves by divulging too much personal information. If you’re worried about people getting too caught up in in-depth, bear-all conversations, you might rotate your tables after each course at the Christmas meal. If you keep things moving then people will be less likely to get too comfortable and spill the beans.
Creative industries campaign for career progression

In media and publishing it’s all about who you know, and this appears to ring true when it comes to festive socialising. It seems that media and publishing professionals are incredibly ambitious when it comes to the Christmas bash with nearly a third saying they primarily see the Christmas party as an opportunity to get in front of their boss. A sophisticated setting with ambient music will really help to set the scene for those career-driven conversations. A word of warning, however: if your Christmas party is going to be a sophisticated networking affair it’s wise to introduce a name badge policy and encourage people to move around the room.  This way everybody gets a chance to meet. Plus, there’s nothing worse than not realising you’ve been boring the boss for hours on end.
Home workers let their hair down

With more people than ever working flexibly and from home it’s perhaps no surprise that home workers are the most enthusiastic party-goers with 60% showing a real enthusiasm for the office party. Over a quarter of them see it as an opportunity to schmooze with influential colleagues but despite their good intentions and admirable career aspirations, home workers are more likely tto regret their behaviour once at the event. While it’s up to the individual to behave appropriately it may be that homeworkers’ need to let their hair down stems from a lack of social interaction throughout the rest of the year. Optional work from the office days or regular video conference calls to make them feel part of the team might be one way to overcome this and ensure that mistletoe mishaps and festive faux pas are kept to a minimum.
Using these tips, hopefully the only regrettable behaviour at this year’s Christmas do will be the dodgy dancing – and it wouldn’t be Christmas without that!

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