Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

What NOT to do at the Office Christmas Party

By St. Nick (Mark Wilkinson) | Dec 9, 2015 | Candidate Tips

It’s that time of year again… party season!

office christmas party - employees drinkingHave you had the ‘appropriate and inappropriate behaviour for the Christmas party’ lecture yet? Well here it is…

According to a recent survey by Ann Summers, an astounding 39% of office workers admitted to engaging in some sort of ‘intimate activity’ with a co-worker at the office Christmas party.

Now that really is a HR complaint (or even lawsuit) waiting to happen. Shame on you, people of the UK!

Anyway sex-aside (I’m sure you all know that that’s totally inappropriate) there are a few other things that you REALLY shouldn’t be doing at your office Christmas party.

Here they are…

1. Do NOT talk about work, constantly.

Woman shouting 'I'm so bored'The office party is all about getting to know your fellow co-workers better and bonding with them on a more personal level.

People want to relax and have a good time; they really don’t want you chewing their ear about the latest profit forecasts.

Of course, certain work-related topics are bound to crop up… but just try not to sound like a broken record!

You probably don’t want to be known as the workaholic with no life.

2. Do NOT overshare.

Man saying 'you are the worst - I love you'On the other hand, it’s obviously pretty important to keep in mind that you are in a professional setting.

Don’t start spilling all of your secrets and feelings about life – especially if you don’t know or trust your co-workers very much.

You don’t want something held against you in the future (and this does happen unfortunately – believe me).

Recruiter Pro Tip.

Avoid any conversation that starts along the lines of… “Joan, you’re actually a really nice person. When I first met you, I thought you were a…” 

This may seem acceptable at the time (usually after a couple of drinks) but your co-worker will remember and in the cold light of day, who knows how they’ll interpret your back-handed compliment?

Also, it’s just a bit cringey to be honest.

3. Do NOT moan and/or bitch.

woman saying 'why, cause I'm telling you the truth, I'm a bitch"An even bigger Christmas party crime is to bitch and moan the entire evening.

As the alcohol flows, your tongue is guaranteed to get a little more loose and you might find yourself insulting the company, your boss and even your co-workers.

Pipe down! No one wants needs that sort of negativity hanging around like a bad smell.

And if your boss finds out – they won’t be best pleased that you’ve ruined the atmosphere of the Christmas party they’ve worked hard and paid for.

4. Do NOT dress inappropriately.

Usually, there’s some sort of dress-code when it comes to the Christmas party, but if not, there are still definitely still some unwritten rules!

  • Don’t dress too casually. Showing up joggers and a hoody shows a complete lack of effort and stinks of ingratitude, I’m afraid.
  • Don’t dress too skimpily. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but flashing too much skin is completely inappropriate.
  • Don’t dress too “posh.” If it ain’t a ball don’t show up in a ball gown or tuxedo! You’ll feel uncomfortable, which will rub off on others.

Basically, look nice, but not too nice!

5. Do NOT keep posting on social media

Cartoon animal looking sad then happy with title 'when someone likes one of your posts'Please don’t be that person.

You know the one who’s constantly uploading photos on Instagram, Tweeting your co-workers’ hilarious quotes and bragging about how much of a fantastic evening you’re having.

The very fact that you have time to take photos at all, implies that you can’t possibly be having that much of a ball.

This is particularly relevant for Social Media Managers and Marketers – post the majority of photos the following day – it’ll seem a lot less false that way!

6. Do NOT do drugs

man dancing like he's on drugsLook, I’m not here to lecture you about what you do in your spare time… but it is (seriously) never a good idea to take drugs at a work party.

It’s extremely obvious, totally unnecessary (it’s a work do for goodness sake) and it’s really not going to look good if your boss finds out.

Is it really worth the (very real) risk of losing your job?

7. Do NOT drink too much.

Woman falling over drunkIn the same vein, try not to drink too much – you’re just as likely to sabotage your career after a few-too-many beers!

In fact, after a few festive beverages, you’re 100 times more likely to do one (or all) of the above Christmas party faux pas!

Keep yourself in check, make sure you’ve got a safe ride home and you won’t have to worry about that dreaded morning-after-the-night-before-oh-crap-what-did-I-do? doom.

All Set?

I know, I know, I sound like a party-pooper – but the office Christmas party should be a time for fun and festivities and not something you look back on with regret!

Recruiter Pro Tip.

Not attending the Christmas party? Put off by the rules and etiquette of it all?

I’d advise that you (at least) show your face for 3 main reasons…

  • You don’t want to look ungrateful to your boss, who’s planned this party for you.
  • You don’t want to seem unsociable to the rest of the team (even if you are)!
  • It’ll be fun, once you get there!

Your number one priority, particularly when you start a job, but also in the future, should be “building great working relationships.

If you’re looking for some more advice on how to navigate your career, with etiquette and success, click here to sign up to our weekly blog post.


- St. Nick (Mark Wilkinson)
Mark as Saint Nick!

St. Nick (Mark Wilkinson)

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by St. Nick (Mark Wilkinson)

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