From the TUC

‘Tis the season… for the work Christmas party

09 Dec 2016, By

For many of us, the annual Christmas party is a highlight of the work social calendar. A chance to pop on a little black dress or dust off our dancing shoes. A chance to catch up with colleagues – or avoid Dave from accounts. And a chance to have a few drinks and unwind after a busy year.

But sometimes a bit of festive fun can get out of hand and the Christmas party is remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Christmas party pitfalls

Light-hearted TUC polling published today (Friday) reveals that around one in 8 people who have attended a work Christmas party admit kissing a colleague and one in four have drunk too much alcohol.

Another one in 14 admit embarrassing themselves in front of their colleagues or their boss, and the same amount have thrown up or been sick at their party.

What can employers do?

Bosses have a big role to play in making sure the Christmas party goes as smoothly as possible. And it’s important to get it right as the same employment laws apply even when a party takes place outside the workplace – so bosses can be liable for incidents of harassment at work parties, and could even face tribunal claims.

Most problems at Christmas bashes tend to be alcohol-related, so employers could think about making sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available for people who don’t drink, and for those wanting a break from the booze.

Bosses could also help staff get home safely after the party by laying on transport home or providing phone numbers for reputable cab companies.

What can staff do?

While the alcohol may be flowing, try to remember you’re still in a work setting and resist the temptation to say or do anything you wouldn’t normally do while emboldened with ‘Christmas cheer’.

Nobody wants to offend another member of staff or make a fool of themselves in front of colleagues. Or worse do something that might get them sacked just before Christmas.

So, try to resist criticising colleagues or asking for a pay rise – save that for office hours! You might want to think twice about posting embarrassing pictures of your boss or your colleagues on Facebook and Twitter. And consider booking a day’s leave after the party if you think you may be too tired to work.

If everyone uses their common sense, then you’re on track for a happy, friendly and safe party. Have fun!