End of year function etiquette
End of year function etiquette
Post written by Paragon Interiors   December 7, 2018

Whether you’re a party person or not, be there.  

For the record, only 24 carat plonkers are motivated by the lure of free booze.  

An office Christmas or year-end party is an opportunity to celebrate with management and your colleagues.  A certain amount of revelry is to be expected but here’s the thing – you’re still on the clock and socialising in business mode.  

This event can be a lot of fun or a social disaster.  Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you navigate the minefield


  • RSVP to the invitation timeously.
  • Arrive on time – within 15-minutes of the official starting time, at most there’s no such thing as being “fashionably late”.
  • Check if partners are invited before you assume otherwise.
  • Protect your reputation and relationships by limiting your alcohol intake and consider drinking a glass of water or soft drink in-between each drink.
  • If you intend to consume alcohol, organise a taxi/Uber to take you home.  Don’t drink and drive.
  • Dress appropriately.  Better to err on the side of caution than rock up looking like a dazzling and desperate sex kitten.  Apart from sacrificing your self-respect and credibility, cats take a very dim view of being misrepresented and they will exact their revenge when you least expect it.  Elegance is classier. Scruffily attired men will face the same loss of face – without the cats.
  • Put your phone away.
  • Talk to the boss as a matter of courtesy.  If you’ve never met him or her before, here is a chance to introduce yourself and mention which department you’re from and your function within the organisation.  Keep the conversation light, friendly and short (around 5 minutes). The positive side of your work should get you off on the right foot, and leave a positive, lasting impression.  
  • Mingle!  Identify safe topics ahead of time and don’t say anything you wouldn’t say at the office.  Keep all conversation cheerful and above board. Steer clear of in-depth discussions about business and remember, negativity leads to trouble.
  • Switch topics if someone is complaining or gossiping.  
  • Ask permission to take photographs and for the subjects’ consent to circulate them on social media.
  • If a Secret Santa gift exchange is part of the deal, stick to the allocated budget and never buy anything too risqué, too personal and inappropriate.
  • Before leaving, thank the party organiser and management for funding the celebration.


  • Skid into the party late and scamper out after 10 minutes.  
  • Bring a partner if the invitation does not include one.
  • Get drunk.  It’s in extremely poor form and you’ll suffer reputational damage and remorse.  Alcohol affects one’s brain chemistry and when it’s saturated with alcohol, you’re no longer capable of making rational decisions and your inhibitions fly out the window.  So not clever, especially with social media and the ghouls who thrive on sensationalism. We advise strongly against stripping on a desk, flirting shamelessly with the boss, using foul language, making rude and derogatory comments, throwing up publicly or being thoroughly obnoxious.  Also, avoid violating the #metoo campaign principles – unwelcome amorous advances could see you charged with sexual harassment. Try explaining that to your partner when the footage has gone viral.
  • Drive drunk.  If arrested and convicted, you can look forward to 6 eye-opening years in the slammer.  In South African law, bribing your way out of your predicament is as much of a criminal offence.  Man up and consider what’s at stake – criminal record, reputation, family, friends, job prospects…
  • Corner your boss with a litany of complaints.  Widely considered one of the top three career limiting moves!
  • Hang around in cliques.
  • Hog the conversation.  Just plain rude. Put a sock in it for a bit.
  • Scroll through your entire photograph gallery with a running commentary.  You’ll end up talking to yourself like a right royal prat.
  • Venture into personal topics like divorce, affairs, childbirth, vasectomies, boob jobs or character assassinations.
  • Haul out a selfie stick and become obsessed with snapping every pout, hair flick and plate of food.
  • Be a glutton.  Take cognisance of the size of the plates and never overfill it.  It’s seriously cringe-worthy to have a mountain of food on the plate, especially if you leave most of it untouched.
  • Double dip after taking a bite.
  • Ask for a doggy bag or show up with a selection of Tupperware containers in your handbag.
  • Be the last to leave.

Or, you could scratch the year-end party off the ‘highlights of the year’ list altogether and opt collectively to do something charitable – like sponsor shopping sprees for kids without toys, clothes, food or books.  Perhaps sponsor volunteer activities like kitting out and fixing an animal shelter, providing treats and comfortable baskets with blankets or funds for neutering animals in low income areas. After all, more giving than taking encompasses the spirit of the season.

We wish you all a very safe and happy holiday break and better things for 2019!