Agony Lance: Getting seasoned

Alcohol is a great way to lower social barriers and make sure that everyone has a good time, but it’s also very dangerous in its own way, as we’ve seen recently. Here's how to survive the annual office Christmas party.

I’m a newly appointed senior manager at our company. I love our Friday drinks and the annual Christmas do, but how do I juggle being part of the team with being a manager – and make sure nobody embarrasses themselves in the festive season? – Merry Maker, Auckland

Alcohol is a great way to lower social barriers and make sure that everyone has a good time, but it’s also very dangerous in its own way, as we’ve seen recently. So when you organise work events, try to mix things up so that alcohol is an option, but not at the centre of the event. Try also to have a series of non-alcoholic events, perhaps ones that are more family or sports-oriented. 

Meanwhile. there’s a reverse correlation between age or seniority and the appropriate leaving time from a work do. The more senior you are, the more your job is to put in an appearance and quickly get out of the way. But you should also make sure that everyone has a way to get home safely and that you set the standards when it comes to avoiding inappropriate work entanglements.