Office parties, whether at Christmas or throughout the year, are a great way for employers to show their appreciation to their staff and for everyone to let their hair down and relax a little. However, once the booze is flowing people’s inhibitions start to lower, and that’s when office party disasters can occur! Here are five office party faux pas that could kill your career and how you can avoid them…
Getting too drunk
Drinking alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and the more you drink the lower they go! If you know that you can’t handle more than a couple of glasses of wine then try to be sensible and stick to your limits. The last thing you want is to end up doing is saying or doing something you shouldn’t, or throwing up at the office party.
Make sure you take advantage of the buffet so that you’re not drinking on an empty stomach, and if there’s no food provided then eat a light meal such as beans on toast before the party. It’s quick and easy to make, and provides your body with the carbohydrates and protein it needs. It’s also a good idea to alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, or dilute your wine with soda water to make a spritzer. Or you could just stay sober, of course!
Hitting on your colleague
So you’ve had your eye on one of your colleagues for a while but have never found the courage to ask them out, or even talk to them. Now you’re at the office party and the alcohol is flowing, your confidence is bolstered, you’re making your move…
But wait. Do you know what your company’s policy is on workplace relationships? Some companies don’t allow romantic relationships to take place between colleagues, and you could be in breach of your contract if you get together with someone you work with. Worse still, your drunken advances at the office party could be misconstrued by the other person, leading to a potential sexual harassment claim. Is a drunken snog really work losing your job over?
Sharing too much information
It’s great getting to know your colleagues, but there are certain things that shouldn’t be shared with them as they could be detrimental to your career. A few drinks at the office party could have you spilling the beans about something too personal like your secret office romance, or something embarrassing that sober you doesn’t really want people to know.
The only way to avoid over-sharing or spilling the beans to the wrong person is to watch how much you drink. Alcohol leads to loose lips, so limit your intake and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks to pace yourself throughout the evening.
Telling your boss what you think of them
Alcohol can make you feel much braver than you normally are, and after a few glasses of wine too many you might decide that now is the perfect time to tell your boss what you think of them. However this is most definitely not the right time to speak your mind! Alcohol affects your coherence and speech so whatever you try to say will come out wrong, and will most likely lead to disciplinary action in the cold light of day.
It’s important to remember that your boss is still your boss. It may be a party but you’re still employed by the company and have to go to work the next day, or after the weekend, and face your boss. Watch how much you drink if you’re worried that you might say something that you shouldn’t.
Not having an exit strategy
It is not your boss or your colleagues’ responsibility to make sure you get home safely at the end of the night. It is your responsibility. If you’ve gone to the party straight from the office the chances are you’ve either left your car at home that day, or are leaving your car at work. Do not, under any circumstances, drive yourself home after drinking. Getting stopped by the police means points on your license, and it could also cost you your job.
If any of your colleagues live near you it’s a good idea to arrange to share a taxi home with them. Being under the influence of alcohol makes you vulnerable to potentially dangerous situations. Stay safe when travelling home by taxi and book it through a registered operator, and keep your wits about you by limiting how much you drink.
The office party is a time for letting your hair down, celebrating your hard work, and socialising with your colleagues. It is not a time for dressing inappropriately, flirting with the boss, gossiping, or getting blind drunk. It’s also not a time for networking, so leave work at the office and just enjoy a civilised night out with your colleagues, and if you need further help with team building then don’t forget to contact us!