This Christmas, an Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) survey of UK managers and workers has revealed which misdemeanours at the Christmas party could cause you unease when you get back into the office.

  • Almost 9 out of 10 workers (87 percent) have seen colleagues drink too much
  • 48 percent have gone to work with a hangover after their office party
  • 28 percent have heard staff revealing their colleagues’ secrets

So what are the consequences of the office Christmas party and what should you watch out for?

More than half the managers surveyed (51 percent) said they would reprimand workers for being rude to each other, while 28 percent would tell workers off for revealing their colleagues’ secrets. Keen to dodge the line of fire themselves; 41 percent managers would reprimand staff for shouting at the boss.

Refreshingly though, the survey revealed that managers are indeed human beings, with only 10 percent of them reprimanding their workers for coming in with a hangover after the Christmas party. The survey also showed that we are a nation of troupers, with just 3 percent choosing to call in sick rather than weather the storm.

Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of ILM, commented: “Christmas parties are a great way for companies to show their appreciation to staff for all their hard work during the year, and it can also be a good opportunity for managers to get to know their staff in a more informal setting. However it is important for all to remember that they are still, essentially, in a working environment.”

94 percent of managers hoped their staff would enjoy themselves, and 24 percent are keen for staff to let their hair down and have a dance. However, 17 percent would reprimand staff for drinking too much.

Charles continued: “Fall-out from the festive party can be a worry for managers. It is important that leaders communicate exactly what behaviour will be tolerated and what behaviour will not, and as always, lead by example. You can’t offer a free bar all night then complain when people drink too much.”

Although nearly 30 percent of workers thought their bad behaviour at a work Christmas party had had a negative impact on their career, only 3 percent reported ever being rebuked for their festive antics. More than 80 percent look forward to their office party at least some of the time, showing that it is overall still a positive aspect of the workplace and a nice way to end the year.

So behaviour to steer clear of: rudeness to colleagues, loose talk and it’s never good to shout at the boss.

ILM survey of managers said:


  • Enjoy yourself (94 percent)
  • Get to know people from other areas of the organisation (62 percent)
  • Discuss personal interests (40 percent)
  • Dance (24 percent)
  • Network with senior staff (13 percent)


  • Be rude to your colleagues (51 percent)
  • Shout at the boss (41 percent)
  • Reveal your colleagues’ secrets (28 percent)
  • Drink too much (17 percent)
  • Remove items of clothing (16 percent)





Steff joined the HRreview editorial team in November 2014. A former event coordinator and manager, Steff has spent several years working in online journalism. She is a graduate of Middlessex University with a BA in Television Production and will complete a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Westminster in the summer of 2015.