“It’s Christmas party time!” Is this exclamation of merriment met with festive cheer – “yay, I wonder who my Secret Santa is” – or festive sneer – *groans, bangs head on desk, hides in toilet*?

Either way, here’s our survival guide for navigating the office party minefield. This isn’t a dos and don’t checklist for employees (we have, however, pulled together a handy infographic just press the button below), this is for you party organisers.

Organising the Christmas do can be a thankless task, but we salute you and are here to help.


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‘Tis the season to be jolly

…but should the suggestion of the Christmas party be met with the same feeling and enthusiasm?

The inaugural festive do can be a daunting prospect for some employees, so should the expectation for everyone to attend exist? Yes, the Christmas party is your way of saying thank you, but your people have already dedicated 235 days, 1725 hours of their life to you this year, you can empathise that some may wish to pass on the bash. And indeed, for some employees with caring duties it may be an impossibility.

An invitation to the Christmas party is key here – an invitation, rather than an expectation. For the most part, people will joyfully accept. But for those who don’t, they’ll appreciate your understanding and not being labelled a Scrooge!

Peace to all men

Free-flowing alcohol and an expectation for employees to behave is not realistic. Yes, we’re adults and we’re professionals, but we’re also human and can all fall fowl of the excesses of alcohol.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of the one employee who took things too far – or perhaps even been that employee. We’ve found the evidence of the inappropriate photocopier usage, we’ve skirted the confrontation with the person with whom we couldn’t help but recount our first impressions (“I thought you were a bit of a try-hard when I first met your Dave”), we’ve recoiled at the videos of our dad dancing popping up on our social media timelines the next morning.

So limit the drinks vouchers.

And if colleagues are using the Christmas party as an opportunity to vent pent up feelings, it may be worth asking why this may be – why do these feelings of discontent exist and why wait till now to express them?


Who’s been naughty and nice?

Managers take note: the Christmas party is not an opportunity to provide an end of year review of your team or an individual’s performance nor set out targets (and your winning strategy) for the year ahead.

Yes, the work Christmas do is a work-based event, but it is not a time for work-based conversations.

All I want for the Christmas party…

…is for people to have a jolly good knees up!

And for them to know they’re appreciated, right?! There’s one simple way to do this and that’s to understand your duty of care to your people extends beyond your office door.

Ensure employees understand that the Christmas party is an opportunity to enjoy themselves while also being a work-related occasion. Policies relating to discrimination, bullying and harassment extend to the festive do and if incidences do arise, they will be taken seriously and handled sensitively. Both employers and employees are welcome to contact our freephone Tell Jane hotline if they wish to seek independent advice – 0800 689 0802.

Finally, if you’re struggling with how to approach the conversation of appropriate behaviour at the Christmas party, our infographic may just help when sending out your invites or in the lead up to the bash. If you would like a copy just press the button below…

Now eat, drink (sensibly, mind) and be merry!


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