How to survive your office Christmas party

For many offices the Christmas party is the highlight of the social calendar. It is a time when people can let their hair down, have relaxed chats with colleagues and just have fun and enjoy themselves.

However, work is still work and you should think about your job and career even while belting out “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” on the karaoke.

Here are my top tips for enjoying – and surviving – the PR team or office Christmas party.

Remember the line between work and social

However much you love your colleagues, they are still colleagues. The boss may let his/her hair down and karaoke with the rest of you, but there still remains a line of appropriateness on behaviour that you do well to remember. A drink and a party with colleagues is something most people enjoy, but draw yourself a fine line between the level of drunkenness you might achieve with friends and that of your workplace.

Tomorrow is another day

Sounds like a Bond film doesn’t it? But by that I mean that you will still have to walk through the office door tomorrow morning and it is best to do it with your head held high rather than hung in shame. This does not mean you should be a party pooper, but keep a thought for how things will look tomorrow. So just think twice before downing those shots and then leaping up for that 80s conga!

Make the most of it

Quite genuinely, I do believe that a bit of social is a huge benefit to teambuilding. I always advocate an evening out to welcome new people, or every now and then just to enjoy the craic of my colleagues. The Christmas party is a brilliant opportunity to relax with everyone and get to know them a bit better – though obviously without being a creep or a calculated social climber!

Switch off the social media

After the first drink it is a good idea to switch off the Snapchats and Twitter posts. We all know the risks of social media and you do well to know when to stop. I was once furious after a Christmas party to find I had been tagged on someone’s Facebook posts. I wasn’t misbehaving (obviously!) but it was an infringement of my privacy and I did not want our party splashed out there for everyone to see without us knowing about it. As with all things, appropriate fun is fine, but it is best to check that everyone else is happy before you hit “post“.

The boss may be sober

The downside of being older and wiser is that many of the more senior people know when to stop. Obviously many don’t, but there is a good chance that your boss has to do a school run or early meeting the next day, or just has some inbuilt grown up restraint. It is worth keeping the thought in the back of your mind that he/she might just be more sober than you – and will therefore remember everything!

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is absolutely brilliant and I really enjoy taking the time to make it work well. However, I have seen some inappropriate or hurtful gifts that have truly bombed. So take the time to be witty and clever, but be mindful of feelings and don’t use it as the chance to get even with others.

Have a brilliant time!

I LOVE Christmas and I really love a good party, so will be looking forward to a good time with my terrific colleagues. The end of the year is a wonderful time to celebrate the team’s successes and business wins, while enjoying the company of people with whom I spend a lot of time. I often think we know more about a random selection of colleagues than we do about many of our friends, so it is a great opportunity to enjoy these relationships and the fascinating nature of teams.

The unique dynamics and relationships of an office and how it works and parties together are something to celebrate, enjoy and laugh over, both at the time and afterwards. So, I advocate that at Christmas you should eat, drink and be merry with your team, but always keep in the back of your mind that the morning after is just another working day.

Angela Casey, managing director of CM Porter Novelli, Edinburgh

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