Time Out Melbourne

Office party dos, don'ts and the ideal party playlist

The annual office party is a landmine-riddled field of dangers, where any wrong step has year-long consequences... let Time Out be your navigational guide

Office party dos and don’ts: employees

Do keep in mind that office parties are more office than party: these people are your colleagues, not your best buds.

Do keep a handle on how much you’re drinking. Sure, there’s a tab and your natural instinct is to absorb as much as you can. Fight that instinct. It’s messing with you.

Don’t figure this is the time to send that racy text message to your hot colleague. It’s going to get you laughed at, in the best case scenario, and in the worst case you’re not going to be their colleague for much longer.

Don’t decide that now is the time to finally tell the boss what you really think, or to finally sort out some ground rules about how use of your stapler should be regulated. If in doubt, shut up. If not in doubt, also still shut up.

Don’t decide that a hilarious Kris Kringle gift would be a vibrator or something equally edgy. Seriously, that’s not going to end well.

Don’t drive. Seriously, you still need to be told that? If you drink that’s going to be dangerous and/or expensive, and if you don’t you’re going to end up dropping everyone else off.

Office party dos and don’ts: employers

Do top up the tab. People want to feel like you appreciate 'em, and cheapness sticks in the memory.

Do lay on some transport if the party location isn’t somewhere easily central. Minibus, cab charges, whatever it takes. Replacing that entire department that vanished after wandering off into the night looking for a bus stop will be a headache in January.

Do make sure there’s non-alcoholic drinks and food on hand. Given your generous tab (see point #1) that’s just a bit of insurance.

Don’t expect everyone in bright and early the next day. Give them the day off, or hold it on a Friday.

Do make clear what you expect of the staff in terms of dress, behaviour and so on. The more you make clear now, the less you have to apologise for later.

Party playlist

Here at Time Out we all have exquisite taste in music and listen only to the hippest music that most people haven’t even heard of, from genres that don’t even exist yet. However, we understand that your office party may need to be somewhat more catholic in its reach, especially since Christy from accounts is still fuming about when Brett scratched her Mamma Mia! DVD. You’re going to need to think broad, you’re going to need to think accessible, and you’re going to have to ask the same question that people who write playlists for daytime commercial radio ask: what sort of music do people who don’t really like music like?

So, with this in mind, here are ten absolute office party slam dunks:

'Slice of Heaven' – Dave Dobbyn and the Herbs

'Sweet Child O’ Mine' – Guns ‘n Roses

'Waterloo' – ABBA

'The Time Warp' – Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack

'Sledgehammer' – Peter Gabriel

'Gold' – Spandau Ballet

'Hey Ya!' - Outkast

'Bohemian Rhapsody' – Queen

'Rock Lobster' – The B-52s

'You Can Call Me Al' – Paul Simon

First published on . Updated on .

By Andrew P Street   |  

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