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6 tips to avoid trouble at your office Christmas party

A group of people drink shots at an office Christmas party.
Aussies are being warned to watch their behaviour at the office Christmas party. (Source: Getty)

The next couple of weeks will be filled with costumes, drinks and perhaps even a few people going too far at the end-of-year office Christmas bash.

While it’s always fun to catch up with your favourite co-workers - especially after years of many workers spending more time working from home - Aussies have been reminded not to overdo it this year.

“Hospitality venues are booking up with end-of-year work functions and Christmas celebrations – we’ve heard the first two Fridays in December are the most popular dates,” My Business head of product and sales Phil Parisis said.

“After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, it’s great to see the office Christmas party back – but it’s also a timely reminder for businesses to brush up on their policies, many of which probably haven’t been sighted in a good couple of years.”

Parisis said that, while we may be ready to let our hair down, there were still plenty of things that could go wrong and the end-of-year party could be a “minefield” for people to navigate.

“Make it really clear to staff in advance exactly what you expect, and have clear policies in place – so they understand the consequences if they cross the line,” he said.

Here are Parisis’ six tips to survive the office Christmas party.

Don’t: Over indulge

“We’ve all been at a social function where there’s that person that just doesn’t know when to stop,” Parisis said.

“Don’t let it be you. All workplaces should have a clear drug and alcohol policy.

“This sets down in black and white the behaviour expected from staff and applies to your Christmas party as well. Remind staff of what the policy is and what the consequences are of a breach.”

Don’t: Vent your frustrations

The office Christmas party is probably not the time to express your frustrations with your work colleagues.

“Whilst it can be tempting to vent to others about those personalities you find difficult to deal with, it’s unprofessional and can be a dangerous mix when alcohol is involved too,” Parisis said.

“Keep your conversations light and jovial - in keeping with the festive spirit.”

Don’t - Overshare on social media

As tempting as it is to document the entire party on Instagram stories - think carefully before you post content on socials, Parisis warned.

“Are you showing the business you work for in the best possible light? Would you be happy with your clients or competitors seeing what you’re posting? Could you be capturing private conversations in those videos that are then being shown to the world?” Parisis said.

“Be selective about what social media you post and make sure you have the permission of those you’re photographing or recording before you do. Every business should have a social media policy - make sure you know what yours is.”

Do: Watch what you drink

“It sounds like a no-brainer but it’s important to monitor what you’re drinking. Organisers should have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on hand for staff,” Parisis said.

Other ways to curb drinking can be drink tokens, reduced bar tabs or even asking staff to contribute to the cost of their own drinks.

Do: Appoint a ‘Sober Sally’

Parisis said it might be a good option to have a responsible staff member on duty for the function.

“Their sole job is to manage staff and make sure the rules are being followed. You want somebody in charge at the event who can be called upon if something goes wrong or if a judgement call is needed,” he said.

Do: Know when to flick the lights

Have a clear finish time on the invitation to distinguish when the official event ends, Parisis said.

“After-parties will often kick on following the Christmas party and when there’s not a clear distinction made the lines can be blurred,” he said.

“Do you want to be responsible for decisions staff make at 1:00am? Probably not. Make it clear in an email to staff the hours the party runs for.”

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