Work Christmas Party Etiquette

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Customer Happiness Team

November 11, 2017

Well it’s fast approaching Christmas, tis the season to be jolly and that can only mean one thing… it’s party time! Whether it’s a relaxed family gathering, a catch up with good friends or your highly anticipated end of year work function, December is synonymous with all things festive and fun. So join us as we look at the top tips to surviving your end of year celebrations, guaranteed to not leave you red faced at the end of a successful Christmas event.


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It’s time to let little loose and reward yourself with some pre party etiquette tips to help conquer your upcoming work Christmas party function. Every year the reputation of millions of Aussie workers are at stake as Christmas functions can either make or break their work year ahead. In this blog post we focus on the do’s and don’ts when attending your work Christmas party. So, follow us as we share our simple etiquette tips for the best way to behave or how not to behave at your upcoming Christmas work event.


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  2. As we progress our evolution of existence in a highly tech savvy world, it seems more and more difficult to pull away from our devices. We find ourselves constantly drawn to our smartphones. Whether it’s checking our emails, “googling it’ or snapping the perfect selfie, our phone has become more and more part of our everyday life and routine. Chances are if you were asked to not use your phone for a day you would struggle a lot more than you think.
  3. The key to having a healthy relationship with technology is to understand the concept of balance. A phone should not become the essence of your social interaction with a person. Sure it’s ok to take a few happy snaps or videos at your Christmas event, but keep in mind it is also the perfect opportunity to bond with your co-workers. For example, you can find out things about your co-workers you might not necessarily know, or perhaps interesting details about the cultural customs they might follow. Now doesn’t that sound a little more exotic than IOS or ANDROID.
  4. Tip* Try and keep your phone usage to a minimum and instead communicate the good old fashioned way with a little chit chat.
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  2. End of year Christmas work functions, or any social work events for that matter, are always the perfect opportunity for you to mix with all levels of the staff hierarchy. Social functions are a great way to break down barriers and communicate with people you might not always have the opportunity to work or talk with, so don’t be intimidated by their designated role within the company. These people might include your mentor, superior or perhaps even the CEO (I like to dream big) of the company.
  3. There is somewhat a fine line when it comes to the topic of discussion, so you probably want to steer clear of ‘the time I got so wasted on a Saturday night’ convo with someone like the Managing Director of your company. This will not shine the best light on you and let’s face it, it’s not going to lead to a promotion anytime sooner. It’s great to feel comfortable being yourself around work colleagues, after all you do spend 40 hours a week with them, however keep in mind it’s still a work related function and management will be in attendance.
  4. Tip* Speak up, you’d be surprised how much you might have in common with office managers, executives or directors.
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  2. Although I’m always the first to condone a healthy dose of chit chat at any type of function, you probably want to steer clear of any stage 5 clinger behaviour. Nobody wants to feel like someone’s captured prey. No you have not miraculously become best buds or blood brothers in the last five minutes, that’s probably just the alcohol talking and it’s probably going to end up with someone backed up against the wall wishing they never started talking to you in the first place.
  3. You also might want to watch how much you reveal about yourself otherwise people might misjudge you. You’re probably a total superstar when it comes to drinking pickle juice straight from the jar, but it’s probably best to keep your nasty little habits to yourself (we all have them, no judgement).
  4. Tip* Give your co-workers some space to breath on the dance floor, you are not auditioning for a role in P-Diddy’s new video clip.
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  2. I’d like to begin with the statement, ‘use caution when dressing up in theme’. Although Christmas may be a great time to dress up and get into the festive spirit, it’s probably a good idea to check the dress code on the invitation before you go crazy in the fancy dress department. I’m not one to shy away from a good costume if it’s done the right way, but you want to avoid a situation where you turn up to an event channeling Bridget’s (Jones) pink bunny outfit while everyone else is decked from head to toe in elegant dinner party formal wear.
  3. A great tip for introducing an understated element of Christmas to your outfit is by opting for smaller fashion accessories to spruce up your outfit. This may include Christmas themed earrings, a pair of sparkling red heels or perhaps a sequined gold clutch, the perfect way to style your christmas look without feeling too OTT. But hey if the invitation calls for it, by all means please go all out and thrive my little red nosed reindeers. Try to opt for something a little easier to move around in from a purely practical point of view, as nobody want to be rolling around the office intoxicated and dressed like boozy the frosty snowman (or woman).
  4. Tip* Stick to the wholesome Christmas theme and avoid sexy costumes! Keep it G-Rated, afterall it’s a Christmas work party not a night at the playboy mansion.
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  2. Nobody likes a food hog, so don’t be a greedy guts when it comes to the Christmas spread. The festive season is all about sharing and there always seems to be an abundant amount of food with more than enough to gracefully share. Save your Augustus (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) or Bruce Bogtrotter (Matilda) moments for your private binge session. It’s important to be considerate of the people around you which means taking extra care to make sure you aren’t making a complete glutton of yourself.
  3. In saying this, you don’t want to go to an event starving only later to be disappointed when you’re sitting around pecking on canapes like a hungry pigeon. Look to the invitation to determine what type of event it is. For example, if it’s a sit down dinner you can probably eat something light beforehand. On the other hand if it’s a cocktail party it’s advisable to eat a substantial meal beforehand, especially as you more than likely will be drinking and it’s safe to say there is nothing worse that alcohol on an empty stomach.
  4. TIP* Christmas is all about food sharing so don’t swarm the buffet like a seagull, pace yourself and try to socialise as you eat.
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  2. It’s the end of year Christmas party and you’re probably feel you have a damn given right to let your hair down and reward yourself with a cold beverage. So ok yes we get it, you’re probably right and no doubt you have earned it with all those extra hours stuck back late in the office. Nobody should deny you that happiness and while we respect the fact that you are probably rocking that Santa outfit picked up on eBay, try to keep it a little professional.
  3. Manners are a must and addressing your co-workers by their appropriate names and offering to shake your boss’s hand as a kind welcome gesture of gratitude will serve you best. Even at a toned down casual event such as the annual work Christmas party, your behaviour tells your employer and others a lot about you. Don’t scream a co-worker’s pet name loudly across the room (as funny as it may be between the two of you, the boss will probably not find it as humorous) and avoid chewing like a cow with your mouth wide open while devouring the canapes being passed around the room.
  4. TIP* Treat others how you wish to be treated, use a friendly toned voice and greet all co-workers appropriately.
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  2. This don’t is pretty obvious for a bunch of reasons. Does anyone really want to see your bare chest or do they really want you to prance around leaving a smell trail of alcoholic sweat in your path to destruction. It’s safe to say you probably want to avoid any type of naked exposure at a work related event. It may be Christmas but I’m sure a strip show by Pete will not be remembered favourably. Chances are you are probably guaranteed bringing in the New Year unemployed or, best case scenario, you become the holiday season ice breaking joke at all functions to follow and realistically nobody wants to be the butt of every joke.
  3. Save yourself the embarrassment and the hassle of having to look for a new job come January. Remember, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you still can’t get fired for bad behaviour at a work function. Regardless of what the many alcohol fueled visions going through your intoxicated mind might tell you, nobody ordered Magic Mike. Sure, you might be in the mindset of the moment and believe that it’s your true calling in life to become a professional stripper because you work out once a week, pass on the carbs and your name just so happens to be Michael, but let’s save it for another time!
  4. TIP* Nobody wants or needs a free show. It’s not a booze filled hens or bucks party so think twice before you start undressing!
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  2. When you are at a work function, it is important to make all members of your team feel welcomed and comfortable. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the one thing you all have in common will more than likely be work related, but let’s be honest who wants to talk about work at the Christmas party, kinda a buzzu kill if you ask me! Don’t be the guy or girl who brings up boring spreadsheets, emails or data filled powerpoints. It’s a no brainer, keep it light and general with topics that anyone and everyone can slide into. Also, politics and religious topics generally should always be avoided, debating can go from 0 to 100 very quickly and can be misconstrued by others.
  3. Most of us don’t want to be that awkward lurker who turns up mid conversation subtly trying to insert themselves into the topic of discussion, left with nothing but the sound of crickets and two pairs of eyes glaring at them. It leaves us not only embarrassed and looking for somewhere to duck and hide, but it also has us eagerly trying to salvage the situation. Remember to always try to make the person entering the conversation feel welcomed and comfortable.
  4. TIP* Keep the discussion light and opinion free to avoid disagreement or offending a co-worker’s personal beliefs, morals or views.
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  2. Most of us will be attending an off-site venue for our work Christmas function such as a restaurant, bar or reception hall. That means you are ultimately representing the company/business when you are attending an external venue. It’s like when you were at school and given that mandatory half hour lecture about the codes of conduct when wearing your uniform outside school’s premises. Bet you didn’t realise it at the time, but you were probably secretly in training for this very moment.
  3. A lot of people will say the habits you pick as a youngster may determine your disciplinary patterns later in life, like how you act at a work related function. The thing to remember is it may be cute when you’re 8 years old, but when you act like a 35 year old ‘adult child’ it can come across as less than pleasant and embarrassing for others but mostly for yourself. So for the sake of your well behaved 8 year old self, don’t do anything that will embarrass the company or yourself. Don’t trash or damage the venue, be rude to waiting staff or make silly complaints about the food. If you don’t like it, simply don’t eat it!
  4. TIP* Be gracious to event organisers. Treat property like you would yours, with respect and dignity so you or the company aren’t left wearing the cost of damage
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  2. Probably the most important point of all is that all staff members feel safe while attending the annual Christmas party. Make sure you look out for each other as some people may become slightly more vulnerable after a little alcohol in their system. If you see a co-working being harassed or bullied do everything you can to isolate them from the problem and help diffuse the situation, take caution to avoid any verbal confrontations. Remember you always have the right to report any offensive behaviour to management if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  3. If you are planning on drinking, a great tip is to have a ‘designated check buddy’ to keep you in check and make sure you won’t do anything you’ll come to regret the following Monday. While we know that the concept of a ‘free bar’ may be super enticing, it’s important to look out for one another and not push anyone past their limits. Social bullying behaviour or peer pressure is a form of intimidation and should never be tolerated by anyone no matter the circumstances. Set a bar for your drink intake and try to stick to it, you’ll thank me for that one later.
  4. TIP* The term ‘free bar’ should not be seen as a conquest to surpass your personal best, nothing good will ever come of that!

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There is no need to be super restrictive, after all it’s meant to be a celebration, however do understand that while it is great to let your hair down and have some fun, try to keep it a little professional and be considerate of the way you behave.

If you’re thinking screw it! I’m in the market for a new job in the new year anyway, my advice to you would be, still don’t go too crazy and unleash suicide squad fury on the company. The reality is your behaviour will follow you around like a bad smell. We all know a good reference is worth its weight in gold and you never know where the future may take you.

Remember it’s an incredibly small world and depending on what industry you may work in, the word always manages to gets around. Try not to burn any bridges and jeopardise any potential work opportunities that may come your way. When in doubt it’s always best to bow out gracefully and not act like a super assassin taking on Gotham city.

The most important note to leave you with is that Christmas events are usually focused around a large amount of alcohol consumption (totally get it, I haven’t been living under a rock) but try to not overdo it. Act responsibly and professionally and try to save your wild behaviour for another night out on the town.

For more tips on how to style yourself super glamorous for your upcoming Christmas work function read our ‘What to Wear to a Work Christmas Party’ blog post.

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