First of all, just because it’s a party, doesn’t mean that everybody looks forward to it every year. Some people (and more than you may think) actually dread the staff Christmas do. Some of us prefer to tolerate it, while others may get so carried away that the idea of showing your face on Monday morning sounds hideous. We’ve got some great survival tips for every kind of partygoer, whether you’re a shrinking violet or simply out of control.
The best way to survive the staff shindig is to plan as much as you can before the event and stick to it. Plan your transport! If you tend to get a bit too merry with the alcohol and wake up filled with regret, make plans to drive so you can’t get into that situation. Or, arrange a taxi for a set time beforehand so you can leave before you have emotional conversations with the printer (or even worse—your boss!)
Find a friend
Find someone who you can look out for and they can look after you in return. Beware—this may start off great but don’t rely on your party pal to dig you out of awkward situations. They may have their own plans and suddenly decide to leave early or just disappear altogether. People tend to make sudden decisions at these kinds of functions so you have to prepare for them to let you down. If the shoe is on the other foot and you see your plans changing, try to give your friend some notice – especially if you’re their ride home.
Wear the right thing, and don’t compare yourself
A strangely important element of the staff party is your attire. You want to be able to get the balance just right. On the one hand, you don’t want to look as if you’ve come straight from work – but on the other it’s not the right occasion to give your cropped leopard print top a trial run. Ladies: don’t feel obliged to wear high heels! A lot of office parties require plenty of standing around, so you need to be comfortable if you want to have a good time.
There’s networking and then there’s just working
Christmas parties are a great time to rub shoulders with people you don’t normally get a chance to speak to in an informal setting. However, keep the work-related chit chat to a minimum. Nobody wants to be talking about work too much at a function that’s supposed to be fun! This is a good time to get to know your colleagues as people rather than fellow co-workers. Remember to mingle with partners and spouses too, as they can be just as important as your colleagues.
Then there’s the complete opposite of working
It’s easy to forget that you’re at a work function when everybody’s letting their hair down. However, you have to remember that some people may still be in work mode. Profusely swearing at your line manager probably isn’t the best way to land a pay raise when the time comes around in April. Of course this is discussing extremes of each personality type, but you need to be aware of who’s around you when you’re telling hugely embarrassing stories or taking lude selfies in the corner of the room.
Ultimately, don’t get drunk for the sake of it! Just because there’s an open bar or unlimited drinks vouchers, it’s easy to give in to temptation and completely go crazy, just because you can. But, try to think ahead a few days and maybe think about what might happen on Monday morning, or even over the weekend if pictures go live on social media (which they will).
Staff parties are supposed to be fun, so don’t forget to enjoy yourself – but it’s all about finding the right balance between fun and getting out of control. There’s always at least one person at the staff Christmas party who makes a fool of themselves. Don’t let it be you! You’ll never know when things you’ve done at the time may come back to haunt you…