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The dos and don’ts of the office Christmas party

Swathes of UK workers will wake tomorrow with regrets about their behaviour at the office Christmas party tonight – be careful not to become one of them.

The work party is a long-term tradition at workplaces up and down the land, and tonight – the final Friday before Christmas – is sure to be a key time for such celebrations.

Yet new research published by print supply firm Cartridge People shows a shocking catalogue of misbehaviour from UK workers at their festive bashes.

The misdeeds range from minor sins like dancefloor embarrassment to major and dangerous wrong-doing like drunk driving.

Headline statistics include:

  • One in seven Brits had shouted at their boss at a work Christmas party.
  • 7% of Brits have knowingly driven over the limit at a Christmas party.
  • More than a quarter of Brits have had to leave a work Christmas party early because they were too drunk.
  • Nearly one in four Brits had kissed a colleague at a work Christmas party.
  • Almost one in ten Brits have ‘used a photocopier inappropriately’ at a Christmas party.
  • More than one in three Brits have embarrassed themselves on the dancefloor at the work Christmas party.

The firm’s HR manager Julie Gimblett – who has 25 years of experience in HR – said: “These shocking statistics highlight what HR Managers up and down the country have to face at this time of year when staff have too much to drink at their Christmas parties.

“While this is, of course, a time for staff to let their hair down, for those in HR it’s important to remember that even at a Christmas party, the company still has a responsibility and duty of care for employees.

“The fact that such a high proportion of Brits seemingly use a work party to vent their frustration at their boss is alarming for us in HR who are always left to deal with the fallout from incidents of bad behaviour at work functions.”

Gimblett also offers a few tips for Business Leader readers to ensure they stay on the right side of the post-party fallout come Monday morning.

Should you drink at your Christmas party? Any guidelines?

“This is a personal choice but it’s important to remember moderation. The Christmas party is a good time to catch up and socialise but be aware that you are with colleagues and management and so it’s in your best interest to not do something you regret later.

“Always plan ahead for getting home after the party by arranging for a lift home with friends or booking a taxi. Never drink and drive.”

Is it a big no-no to kiss a colleague? How about flirting?

“It’s best practice not to mix business with pleasure. Also, be aware of any behaviour policy that your company may have in place and avoid any behaviour that could fall foul of that. Again, you should socialise but not say or do anything you’ll regret the next day.”

Should you avoid dancing at your Christmas party?

“Absolutely not! You should have fun and by all means have a dance. Just try not to injure yourself or your colleagues!”

What time should you leave?

“There’s no set time. It depends on your commitments and personal choice for when you leave. Just remember the importance of making sure you get home safely and planning how you’ll get home whether that be a lift from a friend or a taxi.”

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