Britons dread the drunken office Christmas party

Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:23pm EST
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By Charlie Breslin

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Almost a third of British office workers actively hate the annual office Christmas party, new research has suggested.

The "Christmas do" has something of a bad reputation, conjuring up images of photocopied backsides and illicit clinches in the stationery cupboard, so it is unsurprising that so many workers view it with trepidation.

Yet the research, carried out by The British Greyhound Racing Board, concludes that almost 70 percent of workers don't care about their office Christmas party for the simple reason that they do not want to mix socially with their work colleagues.

The poll of 1,000 British office workers suggested that the biggest problem with the office Christmas bash was that it forces them to socialize with people that they have nothing in common with other than work.

Jo Hemmings, a leading behavioral psychologist, said that office parties create an unnatural situation that obliges workers to socialize and, even worse, dance, with people they would prefer to see only in a professional context.

"While we can choose our friends to party and socialize with - we cannot choose our work colleagues," Hemmings said.

She said that the reason so many workers see their office party as a chore is that it takes them out of their comfort zone.

"While most people like to let their hair down and enjoy the fact that they are being treated to an event, they don't want to be out in a potentially embarrassing or dull situation with colleagues, with the only common thread being work itself," Hemmings said.   Continued...

<p>Revelers dance at an office Christmas party in London December 13, 2007. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly</p>