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How not to embarrass yourself at your EOFY party

Lucy Dean
Pictured: Workers being drunk and silly at work office EOFY parties. Images: Getty
This is what not to do at your work party. Images: Getty

It’s the last business day before the end of financial year, and for a lot of businesses, that means party time.

But if you’re heading out tonight with your team, it’s also worth making sure you’re on your best behaviour. You don’t want to start the new financial year jobless, after all.

And, it’s not unheard of for Australian workers to lose jobs following work functions. Road maintenance contractor Stephen Keenan was fired after telling a boss to “f**k off” at a work Christmas party in 2014. However, he was later found to be unfairly dismissed with the employer partly at fault for serving too much alcohol.

Former police officer Andrew Lawrance also received a formal warning for using a bottle opener attached to a piercing to open beers at a work party.

Another worker, Damien McDaid was fired from Future Engineering and Communication after pushing a fellow colleague into a swimming pool fully clothed.

More recently, an Opera House contractor was found to have been unfairly dismissed after drinking too much at a work event and vomiting.

Tips for employees at work parties

With these stories in mind, employees should remember that what happens at the EOFY party doesn’t always stay at the party.

Here’s what not to do:

1. Bring the mood down

“An office party is not the place to unload your bah-humbug attitude, complain about injustice or wallow in woe. Keep a cheery disposition and offer upbeat discussion topics,” specialist recruitment firm Robert Half advised.

“Steer clear of contentious issues involving politics or religion. Opt for lighter fare instead, like your favourite restaurants, good books, interesting travel destinations or entertainment news.”

2. Drink too much

As Finder noted: “Australia is fairly notorious for turning any occasion into an excuse to knock back a few. While drinks will almost definitely play a part, avoid getting staff so plastered they’re too embarrassed to come into work the following week.”

3. Dress inappropriately

“Business attire is still expected, but you can add some flair and sparkle. Just don't go overboard,” contributor at career advice service Monster, Susan Bryant said.

4. Be rude

Don’t be weird. Thank the people who hosted or coordinated the event, introduce yourself and only bring plus ones if you know it’s acceptable.

And think about timing.

“Even if you don't really want to attend, avoid arriving 20 minutes before the end just to make an appearance. On the flip side, don't party into the wee hours either. Coworkers and managers will notice both errors in judgment,” Bryant said.

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