With just over a month to go until Christmas, the office party season will soon be in full swing.
However, as anyone who has ever seen The Office or Love Actually will know, things can go spectacularly wrong once the combination of Christmas cheer and a few drinks begins to take its toll.
Letting off some steam after an exhausting year at work is perfectly legitimate but there is an etiquette to observe nevertheless. Office real estate specialists LondonOffices.com have compiled a list of the 10 crucial rules to follow to enjoy the office festive party without having to dread your first day back at work afterwards.
Straightforward as it might sound, showing up is crucial. Although attending the staff Christmas party is optional, it's a good idea to show your face. Drunken work colleagues, loud Christmas music and secret Santa presents are not everyone cups of tea but, ultimately, it is important to look like you care about your colleagues.
Over the course of a week, you spend more time with them than with your family, therefore do the right and show up. And you never know, they might just turn out to be really nice people.
2) Eat before you go
Depending on how lavish they are, Christmas parties might consist of a few canapes or of a proper sit down meal. If your office party falls in the former category, make sure you have something to eat before the party begins - and possibly during it - to mitigate the effects of the drinks you are likely to indulge into.
3) Don't drink too much
Yes, there is a free bar. No, it doesn't mean that you have to guzzle down every item on the drinks menu. It might be acceptable during a night out with your mates, but it's unlikely to go down well at the Christmas party.
4) Avoid romantic encounters
Sure, after a few glasses of prosecco or a few beers, you might finally muster the courage to speak with that attractive colleague of yours who sits far away from your desk. However, beware, there are likely to be tens of witnesses around and the next day back at work could be seriously awkward.
5) No flirting with the boss
Flirting with colleagues is bad enough, this could be catastrophically worse. And not just because you would have to deal with the embarrassment for months to come. Remain professional at all times.
6) Don't be memorable for all the wrong reasons
You want their colleague to like you but don't go overboard. Nobody wants to be known as the person who photocopied their backside or was sick in the store cupboard after ordering another round of tequilas at 8pm.
7) Keep your opinions to yourself
Just as you might not be interested in your colleagues' opinions, listening to your views on Brexit, Donald Trump and general life might not top their list of priorities. Therefore, if you tend to become a tad argumentative or prosaic after a drink of four, skip the next round and have a glass of water instead.
Christmas parties are a great way to mingle with people in your office who you wouldn't usually talk to. Use it to make a good impression on your colleagues and you never know, it may even get noticed by the bosses.
9) Thank the host
If it was your boss who hosted the evening, the polite thing to do would be to send over a thank you gesture. Or if you know for a fine fact it was their assistant that did most of the work, it would not hurt to thank him/her either.
10) Know when enough is enough
If you have ignored any of point 3, 4, 5,6 and 7 then perhaps it is best to save the little dignity you have left and head home in the hope that everyone around you was too drunk to notice.