Sore head. Red eyes. Remnants of eyeliner. Coffee in hand.
These are the telltale signs of a shell of a human rocking up to work the morning after going too hard at the office Christmas party.
These specimens come out of hibernation at Christmas time when most workplaces reward their staff for a year of hard work with some sort of party. Most of the time involving alcohol.
Jokes aside, the combination of an open bar, not enough food and over-excited or aggrieved staff doesn’t always end well.
Sometimes, you might get a bit loud or sloppy. Other times, you might make a mistake at the Christmas party that really doesn’t sit right with you or someone you work with the next day.
On a regular night out with your friends, a sorry text or a coffee catch up would normally do the trick in resolving things depending on what you said or did. But offences at office Christmas parties are different and could potentially impact your job.
To find out what qualifies as a Christmas party offence that needs to be formally addressed, and the best way to go about doing so, we asked a HR expert for a step-by-step guide of how to proceed.
Why bad things happen at Christmas parties.
Alcohol. And… feelings.
“Not understanding the Christmas party isn’t a magical blanket that’s different from the office is the problem. What happens on camp does not stay on camp. Most people think that’s the case, but it’s not the reality,” BespokeHR Managing Director Paulette Kolarz told Mamamia.
“Drinking too much is 100 per cent an issue, and the end of year mixture with alcohol is also seen as an opportunity for people for vent, but it’s not. If you’ve had a really heavy year and put a bit of alcohol with that, what we see is the frustration of the year coming out. The Christmas party is the wrong time to do that.”
In Kolarz’s 15 plus years of experience in HR, she said issues can arise when people who don’t normally drink or feel socially awkward or uncomfortable decide to drink to feel more confident. Social media has also muddied the Christmas party waters because when things get recorded or posted online, it’s near impossible to forget about them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t drink or let loose at the Christmas party, but it’s about getting the balance right.
“Christmas parties are about being social and attending, because that’s important from the employer’s perspective, but it’s knowing the difference between what’s appropriate and what’s not.”
“It’s about your personal brand. Look at how you want to be described by your colleagues and bosses, and how you act at the Christmas party should be no different.”
Side note – anonymous employees share the worst thing they’ve ever done at a work Christmas party. Post continues after video.