Christmas is here – a well-deserved time for you to let your hair down and celebrate.

During this festive period, it is highly likely that your business will be arranging a ‘Christmas do’. For some, this event is slightly dreaded, and presents an unwanted opportunity to socialise with colleagues.

For others, this event is hugely exciting – and presents the opportunity to see sides of your ‘quieter’ colleagues that you may not otherwise know about!

Needless to say, for this latter group, the excitement can sometimes become overwhelming. We have all been to workplace Christmas parties where someone has had too much to drink, or done something they shouldn’t’ve… and then been forced to take the walk of shame into work the next day.

Christmas Parties are good!

It is important to state that Christmas parties are a universally good thing. Although for some, socialising isn’t their favourite activity, it is absolutely essential that companies give their employees the chance to relax a bit. Letting your hair down, doing some karaoke, and having a few cocktails is good for company morale.

This blog does not intend to take the fun out of Christmas parties – showing your ‘freer’ side, without corporate speak, will almost always make people view you in a more positive way. This blog only intends to avoid the ‘walk of shame’ – so you can have fun, without damaging your workplace reputation or relationships.

Pick a drinking/eating limit… and stick to it!

At the beginning of the night, you should set yourself a drinking/eating limit. This is particularly helpful if there is an open buffet, or when drinks are being paid for by the company.

Generally, try to limit yourself to one drink per 45 minutes. If you get too carried away with the tequila shots, or the beer tap, then you may find yourself drinking yourself silly within the first half an hour of the party. In this case, it can become suddenly difficult to control your behaviour… and that’s when the walk of shame can be inevitable.

Likewise, with an open buffet, your colleagues may notice if you have eaten all the food, and there is nothing to go around for anyone else. Do not chain yourself to the buffet – instead, socialise around the entire space available, so everyone gets their chance to eat. Overeating can also not sit very well on the stomach (especially when mixed with large amounts of alcohol) – so setting yourself a food limit is in everyone’s best interest.

Don’t bring unexpected guests (unless you are allowed)

More often than not, your workplace Christmas party will be invite-only. Therefore, unless you have been clearly told that you are allowed to bring last minute guests, you should avoid doing this.

Bringing unexpected guests can upset the dynamic of your workplace party. It may be awkward for you, having to introduce your guest – it may be awkward for your guest – and it may be awkward for your colleagues, who don’t know who this person is!

Avoid bad mouthing your colleagues

No amount of alcohol can excuse bad mouthing your colleagues. Although you may have bottled up emotions from your daily job, the time to express them is certainly not at a workplace party.

Unfortunately, when the alcohol kicks in, it can be difficult to completely control your thoughts and words. Therefore, to achieve this important rule, you should keep a limit on the amount of alcohol you drink. Bad mouthing colleagues is often linked to alcohol, and vice versa!

Don’t breach personal boundaries

As we have said, the office party is a great opportunity to show your more ‘exciting’ side to colleagues. There is nothing wrong with this – provided that you maintain boundaries.

Employees can and do get into trouble by flirting with someone who is in a relationship or where their interest is not reciprocated. There is no excuse for breaching the Equality Policy and any conduct that is unwanted by the recipient, could lead to a discrimination claim.

Make sure that your staff know their boundaries by drawing their attention to your equality policies and remind staff that any breaches will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure. Monitor alcohol uptake during the night and if necessary put a limit on the corporate drinks tab to avoid people drinking to excessive limits.

Enjoy yourself this Christmas… but avoid the ‘walk of shame’

You’ve earned the right to enjoy yourself this Christmas – and the work party is a great opportunity for that. But don’t ‘overenjoy’ yourself, at the expense of a walk of shame to work the following day.

Keep alcohol levels to a respectable amount… stay positive and friendly with everyone – and show the very best version of yourself.