The office Christmas party – an executive guide

Written by: Steve Playford
Published on: 28 Nov 2015

    This blog starts with a disclaimer.  It is a) not to be taken too seriously, and b) if it is then we take no responsibility for what happens thereafter!

    It will soon be the Christmas party season.  For those of us who live and work in London, the capital’s many and varied delights are wide open to us all.  However, London is a melting pot of different religions, races and cultures in a way that, say, the Western Isles or north-west Wales are not and I am aware that your potential for painting your town red may be a bit more limited than mine.  Moreover, it is also important to stress that in this multi-cultural society in which we (almost) all live, everyone ought to be sufficiently aware of the need to consider the sensitivities of others, albeit it should be recognised that it is possible to cater for the wants of any majority without necessarily upsetting or excluding any minority.

    So, what should the busy executive do at his or her Christmas party?  My advice is much the same as it is for the annual conference. Know when to stop drinking (assuming you do drink), know when to leave before it gets messy, make sure you don’t get embroiled in any conversation with anyone who is a trifle ‘relaxed’ about their plans for the business (which may well include you being fired and them taking over) and, above all (and this is the only serious bit), do make sure you ‘do the rounds’, being seen to spend some time with everyone from the highest to the lowest (I’ll let you judge to whom that applies!).  Also, if you (or rather the company/shareholders) are paying for the drink, make sure you tell everyone in advance when the free bar runs out – and make sure you do shut it at this time, otherwise you will be in the same situation as a CEO of my acquaintance who, when presented with the bill after a ‘black and white drinks’ (think a lot of Guinness and champagne), said, “Ooh, that is rather a lot!”

    Other definite non-starters are to head off with a group of acolytes for somewhere clearly better (“we thought we’d drop in at the office bash for five minutes before heading for the IoD party at the Dorchester”); making it obvious that your Secret Santa present from the Mailroom staff is inappropriate; or getting seriously squiffy and doing the can-can in front of the entire company. Do not think your sins will remain undiscovered.  That night you and your can-can will be trending on Twitter and tomorrow you will be all over Facebook.  And then you’ll be trending to the Job Centre (although we would recommend, of course,!

    Enjoy, and whatever you are doing, I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas, the compliments of the season and, when it comes, a fantastic New Year.

    Steve Playford, Global Director,