The office party

I have to admit, I am a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to Christmas as a whole these days. I think, as a holiday and religious festival it has been hijacked by retailers.

In my home, Christmas means getting together with family but those magical days of wide-eyed children wanting to know if Santa has been, are distant memories of the past.

However, there is another hurdle to be jumped at this time of year, the office Christmas party.

I have worked with people who are rampantly enthusiastic about them and look forward to them weeks in advance. Then there are the people who go for as short a time as possible, to show their face to the bosses as being there. Then there is the third category of people who do not show up and hear all about the antics the next working day.

Some people say the office Christmas party helps team building. Let your colleagues see the real you and you see the real them. Forge new relationships across organisational structure boundaries.

I can understand that point of view, but surely if an organisation is managed correctly, that already exists?

Others will say it is great to let your hair down with your colleagues. Again, I kind of get that, but there are some colleagues I would simply never meet outside of a professional environment because we believe and are interested in such different things. At most office Christmas parties there is never a chance a chance to sit down and have a meaningful conversation to explore those different areas due to loud music.

Inevitably people have too much to drink, “Why not? It’s Christmas” they’ll tell themselves. But do I really want to see my boss drunk? If I have a good working relationship then it probably would not change my opinion, but what if that relationship was strained?

Then there is the complex issue if an office Christmas party being legally considered an extension of the workplace. That could lead to all sorts of bother with policy violations, particularly if there political power games being played.

Add to that the minefield of people whose religions do not celebrate Christmas. Is an office Christmas party discriminatory against them?

If you look at things closely enough, there are so many worries if you do not have a happy functioning organisation before the party.

For me, the best organisations do not need a religious festival to have a party. People naturally come together after work because they want to socialise together rather than feel the need to be seen to socialise, or because an organisation wants to say thank you for your hard work.

Or is that mean taking too much of a utopian Californian startup viewpoint?

For those who like them, I hope you enjoy your office Christmas party and you have a lot of fun.

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