I've just been to Leila's House of Corrections learning about the US guidelines for office parties. Normally this is a place for me to get really helpful reminders and checklists.
Today, I'm just glad that I don't have to attend Christmas parties which are all about networking, impressing the boss with my strategic insight and staying stone-cold sober.
Call me old fashioned but I like a party to be, well, a party.
Here are some alternative guidelines which should keep you safe from unwanted consequences but still let you have a great night.
- Know your limits. One of my bosses from way back knew that once he'd had his fifth drink, he needed to disappear before his flirtations with the telesales team got him in deep trouble. They found him quite funny up to the fourth.
One of my favourite colleagues can drink to wild excess and never be anything other than the wholehearted, appropriate and engaging person he is when in the office.
Thankfully his judgement remains sound -- it's just his dancing that gets worse. The point: both people know their limits and stick to them. (Practically speaking, vomit and unconsciousness are never a good look, whether at a work event or not.)
- Have a "designated driver" -- or a Tequila-free troubleshooter. Most leadership teams I know make sure they agree who is going to stay in good enough shape to deal with anything tricky on the night. In my experience, people's work friends manage to steer them away from the inappropriate actions in the vast majority of cases.
- Relax. As for seeing a work party as a networking event, this doesn't fit with the UK office culture. It might be more fitting for outside situations -- clients or lesser-known suppliers -- but not for the office do.