It is the season to be jolly, but in the world of office festivities, the line between holiday cheer and professional jeopardy can be thinner than a strand of tinsel.
The legal experts at Top Rated Law have teamed up with BACP registered counsellor Georgina Sturmer to reveal the workplace Christmas party mistakes that could land you a one-way ticket to the naughty list, complete with a P45 in your stocking.
The open bar may be tempting, but it’s crucial to pace yourself. Downing one too many eggnogs can turn your festive cheer into a regrettable career move. Remember, you’re still in a professional setting, even if the dance floor is adorned with fairy lights.
BACP registered counsellor Georgina Sturmer comments:
“Figure out what boundaries you need to have in place in order to avoid things spiralling when you’re at the party. If you’re worried about how much you will drink, think about how you manage it. You might find it helpful to keep yourself away from the bar or drinks table, or alternate with soft drinks.”
Misinterpreting mistletoe moments
Attempting to turn a friendly peck into a full-blown hallmark moment with a colleague can lead to uncomfortable workplace dynamics and, in extreme cases, even HR involvement.
If you’re unsure about how to proceed or if you feel the situation may have created tension, consider seeking advice from a trusted colleague, mentor, or HR representative. They can provide guidance on navigating workplace relationships and maintaining a positive professional environment.
Georgina adds, “Avoid the temptation to flirt with your colleagues. In many cases, we do end up meeting our perfect partner when we are in the workplace, but the workplace Christmas party is a really high-stakes event at which to pursue a flirtation. Notice that you’re feeling a romantic impulse towards someone else, and then see if you can hold onto it for another time. When you’re more in control of the environment, you can figure out whether what you’re feeling is genuine and appropriate.”
Asking for a promotion
Mixing professional requests with a social gathering can blur the boundaries between personal and professional life. The office Christmas party is a social event designed for colleagues to relax and celebrate the holiday season. It is not a formal or appropriate setting for serious career discussions, such as requesting a promotion or pay raise.
A request for a promotion or pay increase should be well-thought-out and supported by a strong case highlighting your achievements, skills, and contributions. Bringing up such a significant matter without adequate preparation can undermine the seriousness of your request.
The allure of a relaxed atmosphere might tempt you to overshare personal details. However, divulging sensitive information or airing grievances about colleagues during the festivities is a surefire way to tarnish your professional reputation.
Remember, what happens at the office party doesn’t always stay at the office party. Resist the urge to vent about work-related grievances or complain about colleagues during the festivities, even if others are openly airing their own concerns.
Craig Anderson at Top Rated Law adds: “Sharing sensitive or confidential information, whether intentional or unintentional, can breach trust within the workplace. It’s crucial to be mindful of the information you disclose, especially if it pertains to colleagues or company matters.”
Inappropriate attire choices
While it may be the season to sparkle, be mindful of your outfit choices. The office Christmas party is not the place for that risqué ensemble you’ve been saving. Dressing inappropriately not only offends colleagues but also creates a lasting impression that extends beyond the holiday season.
Remember, the workplace Christmas party is an extension of the professional environment, and maintaining a balance between festive enjoyment and professional decorum is key to ensuring a positive experience for everyone.