It is that time of year again when everyone is getting ready for Christmas. Unlike in the days of our grandparents, these days the Christmas build-up begins in July. However, when it comes to the famous office party, this is only first mentioned around October/November time.
The normal discussion occurs from when to host the event, to do we invite staff and the partners etc. The idea of inviting partners is something I encourage as it avoids any frolics between the temp secretaries and the married accountant. On that note make sure the broom cupboards are locked before guests arriving.
Here are my top ten tips for The Office Christmas Party
1. The Date:
The first thing to consider is the date. Our dates in December fill up very quickly; therefore, it is important to secure a date asap. Once you have decided on the date and venue, make sure the workforce is informed well in advance. I would recommend at least six weeks if possible. Then decide if this will be an occasion to invite just the staff or to include their partners, but this might come down to your budget. From the point of the staff, the things to consider is making sure you arrive at the correct time at the right venue or rendezvous point. Always ask if you can bring something to assist with the party. That doesn't include 25 of your closest friends!
Now with regards to the budget, you must consider if you have a sit-down meal, canapés reception or just drinks. Make sure you time the event correctly, so you don't run out of canapes or drinks. For example, a drinks reception may last for a few hours while a sit-down dinner will be an evening event.
3. Dress codes
Let's not forget to be exact about dress codes as you don't want your CEO turning up in the Rudolph outfit when it's black tie. You can be as formal or informal as you wish but make sure your guests know, and as a guest, we must adhere to the dress code.
You may also want to consider if you give your staff/guests a present personally chosen by you. We don't need to be handing out Fabergé boxes, but perhaps a Christmas pudding or
something similar would be a lovely gesture. As a staff member, a gift to your boss might be a good idea and save you from a P45 next year.
If the event is miles from the office location you may consider hiring a minibus to get
everyone there. For this may I suggest you have a coach monitor or someone in charge to make sure everyone behaves and this would be encouraged by the driver as well.
6. Alcohol and behaviour
Be the perfect host and guest by not misbehaving or drinking too much as you may regret
it when your bottom appears on the naked rear of the year on the office website.
If it is a sit-down meal make sure you have a basic idea of how to hold yourself properly at the table and use a knife and fork, and of course a napkin. If it is bowl food or canapés, you need to practice the fine art of balancing the glass and the bowl or food at the same time. This can be tricky, but with a bit of practice at home, you will be a master of this in no time. Of course, ideally, there will be tables dotted around when you can rest your glass while enjoying your nibbles. If there are cocktail sticks make sure you place them in bowls provided or on the dish they are served from may have a small dish for you to place them in after you quickly eat it. Do be careful not to place it in the wrong dish.
Always be observant of what you are doing. When holding glasses remember we don't hold them like pint glasses, they are always held by the stem with the thumb and forefinger elegantly and in a gentle manner. Never ask for a glass to be filled up, unless it is offered to you. A good waiter/waitress will make sure you never go without a drink.
9. Centre of attention
Never draw attention to yourself or the other guests around you and always remember you are an ambassador for your company, so everything you do will reflect not only on yourself but also that of your colleagues. If your behaviour is not up to high standards, it may affect the decision on hosting another event next year!
10. Thank You's
After the event, make sure you write a thank you letter to your bosses /boss to thank them for inviting you to the event and for your gift if you receive one. This will be appreciated and would help the bosses decide to host another one for you next year.
I recently ran a poll and asked: Are work Christmas parties a duty or a pleasure?