Navigating the office Christmas party

One annual tradition that can delight and appal in equal measure is the office Christmas party. Such uninhibited celebrations are great for distilling workplace culture. As André Spicer, professor of organisational behaviour at City University London, said:

“It shows you in one place and time the official and unofficial culture, and gives you the opportunity to take stock. It can have a gestalt effect on people – where everything comes together to remind them why they love or hate the place”.

The office Christmas party is one reason why rates of recruitment across just about every sector peak in January and February, and, if you’re looking for a new role in the electronics industry, we’re ready and waiting to help. But for now, more pressing in the minds of many employees is how to survive the festivities without becoming the subject of Monday morning gossip.

With that in mind, these are our top tips to help you navigate the office Christmas party…

1. Let your hair down, but not all the way

Don’t be fooled into thinking the office Christmas party is not still work. The last thing most people want for Christmas is their P45, so make sure your work persona is firmly in place. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but you should regulate what you say and how you act. This is not the time to indulge in some of the less savoury behaviours you might exhibit if you were out with your non-work friends. There can be consequences, and yes, they can be severe.

2. Stay upright

A very basic rule to help you navigate the night is to try to remain vertical at all times. With all the excitement of the build-up and/or sense of impending doom, the temptation can be to get the first couple of drinks down you rather quickly, which sets a dangerous precedent. We’d recommend you sip the first drink or two slowly and gradually warm into things.

3. Keep the conversation light

You don’t want to be labelled the company bore, so try not to talk shop all night, but there are also other topics you should be wary about. Politics and religion combined with liberal amounts of booze are never a good mix – and we’ve all heard enough about Brexit to last a lifetime. You should also be wary of office gossip if you’re not sure exactly who you’re talking to and where their allegiances lie.

4. Turn up

While you might prefer to spend several hours in a darkened room talking to a plateful of mince pies, your attendance at the office Christmas party is a must. A lot of time and effort goes into planning the annual bash, so it’s important to show you’re part of the team and enjoy spending time with your colleagues (even if you don’t). Failure to attend without a very good reason will send a negative message to senior management and the rest of your team.

5. Work the room

This is a once-a-year opportunity to engage with people you see around the workplace but have never had a conversation with. You never know when a new connection you create could be beneficial to your career, so be brave and be willing to leave the safety of your team.

6. Don’t leave anyone standing on their own

What better time to exhibit a little Christmas spirit than at the office party. If you have a new member of the team or see someone that’s struggling to fit in, take them under your wing and introduce them to the people you know. We’re not recommending it as a way to impress your boss (although it probably won’t hurt), but simply because it’s the right thing to do.

7. Never be the last to leave

The wee small hours of an office Christmas party are usually the most debauched. If you want to avoid being the subject of Monday’s gossip then we’d advise you to leave 30 minutes before the end time. You should also put an exit plan in place so you can get out of there unscathed.

Ignored all of our Christmas party tips?

Not to worry. We have the best opportunities in the SMPS, UPS, switchgear, cybersecurity and green energy sectors, so we can help you find your next role. Get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements.