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The Christmas Party




Who is hot, good fun and a “disaster” gets redefined in every workplace in this very sociable outing. It can and should be fun,craic and an opportunity to celebrate the close camaraderie that is implicit to the relationships that develop at the workplace. 

 But there are perils and they are not the silvery kind. 

Every year,I am called in to some organisation where the Christmas party has gone spectacularly wrong or where some relationships have been compromised and need resetting. 

What does that tell you?

That the Christmas party has the potential to be a complete disaster.

With some small restraint and a small bit of good thinking all of this can be avoided and the party can be just that THE CHRISTMAS PARTY, one that is memorable for all the right reasons. 

We are all social creatures, craving friendship and social interaction. It is well shown that good relationships at work, facilitate not only happiness at work but also productivity and creativity.

Good workplace relations are based on trust,  mutual respect, good communications and a clarity of boundaries and roles.

The degree of socialising at Christmas time can bend and blur the usual clarity that exists around these areas. 

If your manager becomes amorous with staff, this can change how you view him /her afterward. 

Does everyone feel free to say no to the bosses flirtation? 

Equally if your colleagues or your manager observe you behaving in an out of control flirtatious, overly sexual manner then their view of you also changes. 

So let’s look at what the party should be and shouldn’t be, and what behaviours are acceptable and not.

The Christmas party itself is intended to be a show of real appreciation to staff for their work throughout the year. It is intended as a gathering where the fun can be had in a more social context than the normal work day. It is not intended to be the best party you ever attend.

It is not intended to be the most fun you will have throughout the year.

I say this because it is important to see the party for what it is and to adjust your expectations  and behaviour accordingly.

From a management perspective its best that there is some freedom about attendance.  There are many reasons why people don’t come to the Christmas party.

They may be shy, socially anxious, or have a domestic situation that makes it difficult for them. Make sure everyone feels welcome but don’t pressurise those who decline the offer.

Management should also think about the level of alcohol consumption and consider some free drinks but not an endless supply.

As a manager  you must remember that you are the manager and the disparity of power that exists at the workplace is still in play at the Christmas party. Therefore it is not ok for you to flirt and make advances to staff who report to you.

For colleagues,of course there are attractions at work and of course it is fine to act on those attractions.. The Christmas party can be a place where some sparkle comes into that attraction. 

If you are married be aware that  36% of affairs occur with work colleagues. 

If you are single this statistic is equally important. 

If you are both single and the attraction is there then the Christmas party may be the right occasion to socialise more together. Taking things one step at a time is a simpler and safer way forward for both of you. Since everyone will know what goes on at the party and will surmise quickly who hooks up with who, you must consider the obvious difficulties ahead of time and if you want everyone to know about this,if it doesn’t work out.

Here’s a few golden rules that I’ve seen broken with disastrous outcomes.