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  • Fri, 30, Nov, 2018 - 5:00:AM

How to not be a creep at your work Christmas function

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the weirdest social event of the year: the work Christmas function. No matter how nice the people you work with are, there’s still an awkward side to the event.

Work functions are fundamentally strange. You’re partying with your boss; the line between professional and personal is blurred. Christmas functions are supposed to be a fun way to unwind with the people you’ve worked with for an entire year. But some people take the opportunity to enjoy themselves a step (or a mile) too far.

Whether it’s alcohol or the sudden relaxation of workplace rules, these people suddenly forget what appropriate behaviour looks like. The sexist or racist or all-round inappropriate comments come out. And you realise that actually, Kevin is a bit of a dick. So here’s a guide for people like Kevin, on how to make sure that you don’t completely embarrass yourself:

Don’t get super drunk – When people drink, they forget boundaries. That’s almost a given. But there’s a level of drunk that’s okay for work… And then there’s getting completely smashed at your Christmas work do. That makes other people feel awkward. A study in 2016 found that 20 percent of people have noticed someone behaving inappropriately because they were too drunk at a work event. Downing a bottle of wine and flirting with the bartender might be appropriate for a night out, but it’s not okay at your work function.

Don’t pressure people – This is a big one. Maybe you drink copious amounts of alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and eat meat. Cool. No one has to join you in doing any of that. When you ask “Why aren’t you drinking?”, you’re implying that drinking is a necessary part of the social event. Everyone in your workplace can make their own choices about what to drink and eat. Your comments on those choices are not appreciated.

For the love of god, avoid sexist anecdotes – Gender in the workplace is a complicated issue. A lot of that complexity comes down to the fact that women are inherently disadvantaged by traditional workplace structures. Compounding that disadvantage by telling inappropriate, misogynistic stories is bad. Full stop. The same goes for racism, or putting any disadvantaged group in the firing line of your ‘funny stories’. Using your privilege as a launching pad for bigoted discussions is not a relaxing activity for your colleagues.

Be considerate to your colleagues – Is someone too drunk? Call them a taxi and help them get home safely. Does someone look like they’re trapped in an awkward conversation that they want to escape from? Go and help them. You’re working with these people, so help them out if they need it.

Don’t hit on anyone – It’s 2018. This shouldn’t have to be on the list. Hitting on a colleague is inappropriate. Just don’t. If your actions are making a colleague uncomfortable, you’re taking that fun away from someone else. Why spoil the party?

Some things in life are easy. One of those things is behaving in an appropriate way. To avoid making others uncomfortable, all that you have to do is the bare minimum i.e. think before you speak or act. In summary: don’t be a dick at your work Christmas function, Kevin.

TAGGED IN

  • Work /
  • Socialising /
  • Christmas /
  • Sexism /
  • Workplace Culture /
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Erin
Gourley

Regular Contributor All Articles