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  • Writer's pictureSara Wilcock

Christmas – but not as you know it…

Christmas parties, whether you love them or hate them, they are the event that is always the hottest topic at this time of year (except this year, of course!). Whether it’s to take the opportunity to dress the office up, dress yourself up or dress your homes up, it’s certainly a time when celebrations and joy, carols and kindness, glitter and festiveness go hand in hand.

However, this year things are a little different, but just because things aren’t “normal” (whatever that is), it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to play by the rules. So, if you are holding your annual Christmas party, then you still need to ensure that everyone attending knows that the same behaviour and etiquette rules apply, as they have done at all your previous parties and social gatherings. Whether you are new to the world of office parties or an old hat at it, here’s a gentle reminder of the dos and don’ts….

1) Mind your Ps & Qs - Just because you aren’t actually in the same place doesn’t mean you can say and do whatever you like, remember to mind your Ps and Qs. Using bad language may be perfectly acceptable in your own home, but in front of your boss, the CEO or your employees is not a good idea. 2) Dressing appropriately – Again, just because you are in your own home doesn’t mean that you should wear something too revealing or completely inappropriate for the situation. Whilst we are sure most people will be glad to get glammed up, saving more risky outfits for a night out with friends or loved ones would be a more sensible option.

3) Just because you aren’t driving – it doesn’t mean you can get completely blotto. Although you may be tempted to, given the year you’ve had. I’m sure most people would be sympathetic and forgive this transgression, but do you really want to lose control in front of all your work colleagues, your manager or your employees? What would they be thinking of you? Is being ill everywhere (even in your own home) the lasting impression, you want to give?

4) Saying it as it is – sometimes it’s really hard to bite your tongue. Whether it’s a colleague that’s not pulling their weight, a boss or employee that’s upset you, demands of the job or something else that has made you cross, upset, hurt, disappointed or disillusioned. Storing it up and not saying what’s on your mind can lead to it being blurted out at the most inopportune moments, particularly if there is alcohol involved. However, saying it at the office party, may make you feel better but it can have a (serious) lasting impact. So, remember airing your grievances at the Christmas do, is an absolute no-no.

5) Chinese whispers – office politics and water cooler chat are always rife at any company, people build friendships, pass the time, hear things that have happened in another department etc., but you don’t want to get a reputation as being a gossip. If you do say something make sure you have all the facts and make sure it’s common knowledge before passing on that titbit at the office party.

6) Sexing it up – Dirty Dancing or twerking may have been something you ‘ve heard of or seen, but that doesn’t mean you need to re-enact it for everyone else to see. Inappropriate behaviour that involves body parts and removal of clothes never go well together. Whether you are boss or an employee.

7) Helicopter managers – whilst in the (virtual) office you may like to see and hear everything that’s going on, but you don’t need to at the office party. You don’t need your team to be in your chat room, you don’t need to spend the entire night talking to just them. Actively encourage them to mingle in different rooms and to speak to people that they’ve not spoken to before.

8) Speak kindly –Everyone has been affected by Covid-19 and some more than others. Take the time to smile and say hi, and speak kindly of, or to, your fellow workers. Everyone is feeling the loss of “human contact” and reaching out and saying hi, not only helps boost Mental Health well-being, but it could turn out to be one of the most interesting conversations you’ve had in a long while. What have you got to lose?

9) Enjoyment is key – it’s not all buttoned up and braces, you can have a great time if you just remember that, if you wouldn’t do it ordinarily in the office in front of everyone, then don’t do it now. No-one is waiting to watch you fall, but equally, they can’t stop you if you are determined. Think twice, act once.

10) Party like it’s 1999 – Ok, we know it’s a bit late for that but even if you aren’t a party sort, this year has been like no other. Celebrate the success of getting to (nearly) the end of the year and think about what the party might be like next year, when you can actually be in the same room again….

We hope that this has helped, but here’s one last little thing:

If you are wanting to know about how the bill for the party will affect your business, then give us a call, we can help you navigate through the Trivial Benefit Rule and ensure that your party really is a Christmas cracker!!

People4People helping businesses put the human back in to HR.


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