14 December 2015

Here's to the Silly Season

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Image sourced from Pinterest

It’s that time year where the heat and humidity are rising and the longing gaze of the team are staring out the office window, already counting down to holidays. Traditionally Christmas Parties are a way to celebrate a successful year and to ensure the staff have the opportunity to let their hair down, relax over a drink or two and begin to prepare for the holiday season.

However, there are some serious considerations beyond whether or not to have an open bar tab that need to be thought about before you head to the nearest pub or Harbour Cruise.

Everyone wants the Christmas Party to be a success. It’s the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and dedication. But management, and in particularly HR need to be aware of the consequences of something going wrong. Given our businesses hire adults, and the staff are expected to behave as such, it only takes one too many cocktails at the open bar for things to turn nasty.

So are a few tips for your staff to make sure they really do have a happy Christmas Party:

The iPhone, or What Happens on Sydney Harbour stays on Sydney Harbour.

Everyone now attends these parties with an iPhone clasped in their hand. Photos are instant and uploaded to the web before you can say “Don’t put that on twitter.” And they’re permanent. The golden rule for staff is “don’t do anything you don’t want plastered on the internet.” A moment of misbehaving could have serious consequences for your career, or your business.

When in doubt, say nothing at all.

Another facet of the “don’t do anything you don’t want plastered on the internet,” is the urge after a drink or five to let someone know exactly what you think of them. The best advice you can ever get at this point is “shut it.” A moment of bravery, assisted by that fourth glass of Chardonnay has the ability to haunt you longer than your hangover will.

Pole dancing is for poles, not the private function room at The Ivy.

We’ve all been there, a few too many drinks, caught up in the energy of a room full of people having a great night. There’s a podium, there’s a table in the corner and you’re just as much a party animal as Agnes from Accounts. Avoid the need to get up and grind your groove thang. The cheers and laughter will haunt your memories and make the walk into the office on Monday something that takes the courage of Jason facing the Argonauts.

Clothes stay on the body.

I’ve lost count of the amount of Christmas Parties that have ended with someone running down some random street in the nude. Nudey runs are definitely a no-no at the office Christmas Party, remember the iPhones in everyone’s pocket. By the time you reach the end of the street you’ll be Periscoped, Vined, Twittered and a Youtube star. Keep a track of your pants and make sure they stay on.

There’s no Mistletoe in Australia.

Not even the plastic fake stuff that seems to be floating around every Christmas season is an opportunity for a quick kiss from the mail room clerk you’ve had your eye on all year. Christmas may be the silly season, but it’s also the season of sexual harassment law suits in Australia. An innocent seeming comment as your throwing back Jaeger Bombs could definitely be the key to an extend vacation on the unemployment queue.

 What happens at the Christmas Party will always be worse on Monday.

You’ve had the weekend to recover. You’ve seen the photos on Facebook and you’re slowly piecing together the remnants of memory flashes that have been floating about your subconscious since you woke from a stupor on Saturday afternoon. When you return to the office on Monday be assured there will be someone who remembers everything. Nod, smile, promise yourself next year you won’t drink quite as many free martini’s and take the ribbing that will come in good spirits. Trust me, you won’t have been the only person to make a fool out of yourself.

As the working year begins to draw to a close and the silly season takes effect enjoy the reward of a job well done during the year. The best advice I can give for the Christmas party is wear sunscreen if it’s a day time event and its outdoors, make sure you stay hydrated in the heavy humid Australian heat and above all else, have a sensible level of fun. Don’t let yourself be pressured into drinking more than you feel comfortable with, and don’t be pressured by those around you who want you to stay out all night partying.

And remember next week you have to work with these people again, so go easy on the shots. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

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