The Christmas party is one of the rare occasions you can let your hair down during sort-of official working hours.
But there’s a fine line between having some fun and misbehaving, Etiquette Advisor Jo Bryant, of the UK’s leading authority on modern manners, Debrett’s, tells Metro: "The aim is to keep your dignity. You’re socializing with your colleagues, but with your bosses as well. It’s about creating the right impression while making it seem like you’re relaxed." She talks us through the do’s and the don’ts:
Look the part
DO meet workplace standards:
"Make sure you look smart and well groomed and that you’re fitting in with the ethos of the office. If you work in a very corporate environment, you’ll probably be going somewhere smarter so dress appropriately."
DON’T overdo it:
"If you work in a more relaxed office atmosphere, turning up in your best party frock when everyone else is in jeans, might not be appropriate."
Dress the part
DO wear something different:
"This will help create that distinction between it being a Christmas party—not a Monday morning. You want to look good—but that doesn’t mean you should be going over the top and wearing something really out there."
DON’T wear what you wore to the office that day:
"If everyone else is going to make an effort and get changed, do the same."
Bulk up the contacts
DO circulate and socialize:
"Now is the perfect opportunity to chat to people you might not normally speak to or have open access to—like the big boss. Make the most of it."
DON’T be arrogant:
"Get your behavior up to scratch. As you go around the room, stop to speak to people higher up in the pecking order. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore people of lower ranking than you."
DO impress people without promoting yourself:
"This isn’t the time to ask for a pay rise or complain. Avoid office chat- unless the big boss instigates it and seems keen to get your opinion. But equally if you can talk to them about their family and their holidays, they might see you as more than just another member of staff."
DON’T shun your colleagues:
"Never neglect your team and spend the entire party schmoozing everyone else. Equally, don’t just cling on to them and feel nervous about making new work friends."
Know your limits
DO drink but don’t get drunk:
"Hold yourself. If you’re drunker than your companions, that’s a big no-no. You should never be the drunkest person at the party."
DON’T be a party pooper:
"If you’re feeling as though things are getting out of control and decide to stop drinking, don’t make a big thing about it. Hang in there and don’t draw too much attention to yourself. Order a tonic water so it still looks like you’re having a drink."
The morning after
DO be sensible:
"If the next day is a full working day then arrive on time. Organize a quiet day for yourself—hopefully you won’t have been crazy enough to schedule the most important meeting of the year at 10am."
DON’T broadcast a hangover:
"Put on the freshest face you possibly can and deal with it in a discreet manner. You’ll probably struggle through the day but don’t go on about how much pain you’re in. No one wants to know, because everyone else is feeling the same."
Analysis: Why you should stay clear of office romance
As you get carried away in the festive spirit and drink too much mulled wine with a cute colleague- one thing could lead to another and you could end up getting a little too close:
"Hooking up with a colleague is something you’ll probably regret in the morning," explains Bryant. "It’s not the kind of one-night stand you can walk away from and forget about because the moment you get back into the office you’re going to be face-to- face with your mistake. And if other people find out, you’re not going to do your career any favors. Having said that, romance might blossom. If it’s a drunken Christmas thing, it probably wasn’t worth it."
Things to avoid: Etiquette Advisor Jo Bryant
1. Drunken confrontations
No matter how tempting it might be- now is not the time to settle your differences with a colleague– rise above it and let them look the fool.
2. Solo dancing
If everyone else is shaking it out on the dance floor, then fine. But don’t the only person on the dance floor for a long period of time.
3. Not focusing
Focus your attention the right way. Tonight is about fine-tuning your attentions, speaking to the right people and having a good time. If you’re step out of line in any way then people will
remember you as the embarrassing person.