The office Christmas party; potentially HR’s worst nightmare, well may be…


The office Christmas party, it’s the event of the year for most employees but for HR it can be a stressful with a hint of “what the blooming heck is going to happen this year” dreaded anticipation. I’ve even overheard another HR professional refer to it as if to get through it were similar to surviving the apocalypse!

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not Scrooge’s; in fact HR work hard but my goodness don’t we know how to play hard! We just party in a different way to other employees.

The reasons for this are simple, we may be at the party but have to remain professional. All employees should do this however we don’t live in a perfect world, we’d love nothing more than to join in with our colleagues but then we could be placed in a comprisable situation that HR would really struggle to recover from which can have lasting effects on a career in the profession.

Of course this is not the apocalypse nor is it the perfect world and indeed I’m talking worst case scenario here so the purpose of this post is to point out some simple tips on how to survive the office shindig in the most professional way possible.


  1. Set clear boundaries and expectations of behaviour; we are all adults and most should know better but the business can still be liable for the actions taken by overzealous employees when an event is held off site. Highlight the company “events at work” policy would be a better approach than to get employees to sign a liability waiver, because let’s be honest there’s nothing better to get the party started then signing a waiver is there?! (sigh)
  2. Include everyone; no one should be left out and remember not everyone celebrates Christmas, I remember going to a Christmas party in the middle of the year so that all faiths were catered for, imagine a mix of Bhangra and East 17’s Stay Another Day, it was one of those things you needed to be there to appreciate it but I assure you it was one of the best I’ve ever been to!
  3. Lead by example; whilst a joke on the boss can be funny at first, the reputational consequences can be long lasting. Ask your team leaders and managers to be hosts at the evening and remind them of their obligations, whilst this may seem harsh, safety in numbers is never a bad call!
  4. Consider the day the event is held on; if the party is held on a school night then may be consider a later start if possible, may be as an early Christmas present but be clear that they are expected to attend work at a set time and that normal absence procedures will apply and for those feeling a bit worse for wear, may be suggest taking a day’s holiday to sleep the dancing feet off
  5. Make sure everyone gets home safely; make sure that taxis are pre-booked and if at a hotel venue, advise on room bookings in advance of the event

I hope you all have a fantastic start to your party season and don’t forget to make the office party memorable for all the right reasons!


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