In the Zone Office parties
Für die einen sind sie das Highlight des Jahres, andere versuchen sie möglichst zu meiden. Die Rede ist von Betriebsfesten. Aber auch wer mit Kollegen und Vorgesetzten gerne feiern möchte, darf dabei nicht alle Regeln außer Acht lassen. Erfahren Sie von J
Dressed in a brown robe, a hooded monk is entertaining a group of superheroes — Superman and Wonder Woman among them — with banter and jokes. Disco lights flash, and the room is filled with the sound of the latest hits. It’s 1983 and a high-street bank’s Christmas party — a fancy-dress disco at the main branch in the centre of town. The monk and superheroes are young bank workers enjoying an annual get-together that has a reputation for sometimes getting out of control.
By the end of the evening, the monk, Adrian, has flirted with his deputy manager, started a drinking competition with colleagues and ended up vomiting on the dance floor. At work the next day, he gets plenty of knowing looks and comments about his “unholy” behaviour. Today, 35 years later, Adrian is a successful bank executive, but he still hears jokes about that party and the “bad monk”. It’s a simple truth that one act of bad behaviour can influence reputations for years to come. Especially if that behaviour is at the office party.
Bad behaviour can, of course, also mean disciplinary action, even dismissal. Gross misconduct could include harassment, violence, discrimination, drug-taking and misusing social media. If it seems tempting to post a compromising party photograph online, think again. “A celebration is not a reason to leave ethical values in the cloakroom,” says the Institute of Business Ethics. They advise that an office party, regardless of time and location, is an extension of the workplace, and employees and employers have a responsibility to behave
properly and can be held liable for what happens there.
Around 68 per cent of UK firms plan to have Christmas parties, at an average cost of around €48 per head. That’s a significant investment, although most social functions are tax-exempt. Not everyone, of course, wants to be there. Statistics suggest that 17 per cent of employees would rather stay at home. At the other end of the spectrum, The Independent reports that people in IT and HR are the employees most likely to kiss or have sex with a colleague, or to get extremely drunk, at the Christmas party. In the UK, alcohol consumption rises by 41 per cent in December, much of it associated with parties. It represents a real danger to job prospects, according to Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management. “My number one tip is to watch the alcohol,” Mills told The Telegraph. “It’s the biggest mistake and usually the cause of all the other things that go wrong.”
The Institute of Business Ethics suggests placing limits on free bars at work parties, arranging safe transport home and appointing a supervising manager to remain alcohol-free for the night. The HR website Personneltoday.com also advises managers to read their company policy carefully and to make a statement telling all employees what is expected of them and setting clear boundaries for behaviour.
And before partygoers put on their jeans and T-shirts, Businessinsider.com recommends that everyone check the dress code. It suggests using parties and events to meet new people and to build rapport; not to go on an empty stomach; to be mindful of limits; never to explicitly talk business, and not to miss work the next day!
While it’s obviously a good idea to avoid asking the boss for a pay rise, it’s also important to try to enjoy the party. CBA Events suggests that a wow factor is needed. “Rewarding staff with an unforgettable evening can be well worth the investment to boost morale and give them an incentive to keep up their great work at your company,” the UK events experts say.
They suggest being creative with party ideas: using an original location such as a boat, castle or circus, and having themes such as glamour, masquerade or carnival.
“It’s great to see so many organizations finding ways to reward and recognize their employees in some way for the festive season,” says Debra Corey, director at the employee engagement firm Reward Gateway.
Corey explains that socializing with and thanking colleagues isn’t just for Christmas. “A strong reward and recognition strategy is … a must for businesses who want to attract, engage and retain the very best,” she says. “A Christmas party is the cherry on top, rather than the foundation of the strategy.”
“Alcohol is usually the cause of all the other things that go wrong”
Have a good time: but don’t put your job at risk