Union Views: 5 hacks to survive the infamous Christmas staff party

Pull crackers, not the boss (Photo: Pixabay)
December 18th, 2019 1:52 pm| by Steen Vive
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Denmark’s workplace Christmas parties are good fun. Being aware of the unwritten rules helps keep them that way.

In Denmark, the Christmas staff party – the ‘julefrokost’ – takes the form of an annual party. For employees and their managers, it is an occasion to meet and ‘hygge’.

However, there are some dos and don’ts that first-time julefrokost attendees will want to keep in mind (and that even veterans need to be reminded of).

Let’s begin with alcohol
The Danes’ reputation for being a boozy bunch is well earned.

So, even though the Christmas staff party is a company event, the alcohol will be flowing freely.

But that doesn’t mean you will be expected to partake – and if you don’t, remember that you won’t be alone.

Just not too much
Danish workplaces are generally informal an during the ‘julefrokost’ people are even more relaxed.

Letting loose is one thing, but – and this applied even before #metoo – be careful not to take it too far.

Yes, the Christmas staff party is a chance to make merry with your co-workers, but remember: they are still your co-workers and your workplace rules still apply.

Partying with your boss
This doesn’t need to be as awkward as it sounds, so long as you remember that this is an entirely social occasion.

Just remember that the julefrokost is not your opportunity to critique the new corporate strategy, to complain about your co-workers or to ask for a pay rise.

Save those discussions for the office.

Mandatory matters?
The answer depends on when your company chooses to hold it. An after-hours julefrokost is not mandatory. If you attend, you don’t get paid overtime and you can’t count it as work hours.

If your company holds the julefrokost during work hours, you’ll normally be expected to attend.

If you don’t want to go and if your boss excuses you, you’ll normally be expected to work while everyone is partying.

Good for networking
The Christmas staff party is first and foremost a good chance to socialise with your co-workers. It is also a way for you to meet people in other departments.

So even if you aren’t into partying, the holiday hygge makes it a great opportunity to do some networking.

Happy hacking!
With these five julefrokost hacks in mind I hope the Christmas lunch at your workplace will be both enjoyable and fun.

Merry Christmas!

Steen Vive


Steen is senior advisor at Djøf, the Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists. He is a blogger and manager of various projects aimed at generating jobs in the private sector. In this column he writes about trends and tendencies in the labour market. Follow him on Twitter @SteenVive.