Don’t get sleighed by the end of year office party

| November 24, 2020

Following a year of events no one predicted, at least some workplaces are still planning to officially put the past 12 months behind them with a safe but rip-roaring end-of-year office gathering.

But be warned. A high-pressured year, burnout and job insecurity combined with free and unlimited alcohol can become a cocktail of conditions for careers to be cut short.

Even if you have only been in the workforce for a short while, you will have seen it all at the last office booze-up.

Lane from accounts developed loose lips, Morgan from sales tried to make out with the boss, Devon from the call centre had dodgy dance moves, Alex from marketing became argumentative after one full-strength beer and Chris from IT wore party attire that left much to be desired.

The end-of-year office party brings out the best of the worst behaviours of at least some of our colleagues, who get caught up in the revelry and forget what is at stake.

Your instinct might well be to stay away. But skipping the party altogether, without a good reason, could see you labelled as Scrooge or Grinch.

So experts have come up with some advice to help party-goers navigate through these celebrations and even enjoy them.

Avoid falling into the trap of treating the event like a night out with friends – rather, view the end-of-year function as a business event that is just a tad more relaxed than normal. Normal work standards apply, including on the dance floor and under the mistletoe.

While many will say the big year-end bash is a most wonderful time for a drink, booze basics apply.   Avoid shots or too many spirits and try to alternate alcoholic drinks with water – or avoid alcohol altogether.

Socialise and circulate. Steer clear of talking about the boss and office politics and resist the urge to share lewd jokes, spread gossip or start rumours.

Pretend that you are enjoying yourself.

Stay well away from using the end-of-year function to declare your unconditional love for a colleague who you have had a crush on all year.

And if your function includes a Kris Kringle, avoid anything “out of the box” that might cast the work mate in a negative or embarrassing light.

Refrain from taking pictures at the event for your social media feed. Embarrassing pictures of your colleagues aligned with your flippant comments may well come back to bite you.

At the end of the day, you want to be remembered for all the right reasons – and not an infamous dance floor performance fuelled by alcohol that sparked inappropriate behaviour.

Most importantly, as we round off a year in which a pandemic has wreaked havoc on our workplaces and life in general, remember to social distance, avoid hugs and handshakes if possible and Santa-tise throughout the big event.