8 Ways People Ruin Their Work Reputations During the Holidays

Holiday Party


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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
July 14, 2024 at 8:25AM UTC
'Tis the season to be jolly... and potentially spoil your workplace image. The holidays are an exciting but hectic time of the year, when there are a lot of celebrations and parties, and work seems like far less of a priority. 
You’ve probably made one too many commitments to appease your friends and relatives, and you’re likely running back and forth from sale to sale checking off your shopping list, decorating the house with wreaths and candles and ornaments galore, preparing food to feed more company than you're really wanting to host and vacuuming up those pines and that glitter that's spreading around your house like the plague.
It can be difficult to stay focused in the workplace when you're spread so thin during the holidays — or when you're fighting a hangover from yet another ugly sweater party. It's important, however, to stay on top of your game. 
With that said, here are eight ways people don't keep it together and do, in fact, ruin their work reputation during the holidays.

1. They drink too much at the holiday party.

Every company has at least one notorious employee who drinks far too much at the office holiday party. This person may go about badmouthing others or gossiping at the party. Or maybe they start doing high kicks on the dance floor and throw out their back so they can't come to work the next day.
In fact, Caron Treatment Centers, which treats drug and alcohol addictions, surveyed 2,018 adults in 2015. The centers found that 85 percent of them believed that drinking at holiday parties for work is appropriate. But, of those who attended these parties and drank, 11 percent reported experiencing negative physical and social effects. They'd passed out, needed to apologize to colleagues afterwords and had hurt their standings at work due to their behaviors, according to the survey.
Office holiday parties are meant to be a good time. But it's important to remember that you're still in a professional setting. And so you should behave accordingly. Here are some dos and don'ts of office holiday parties for your reference.

2. They leave everything for the last minute.

It's no secret that the holidays consume a lot of your time. But there are time-saving holiday hacks you can use during these crazy months to ensure that you get all of your shopping, cooking and celebrating done while stay abreast of your work.

3. They don't finish their work before the holidays.

Perhaps you want to take paid time off (PTO) to enjoy the holidays with your family. Well, that, of course, requires you to finish your work beforehand — or at least have a plan of action to be able to delegate your work while you're away or tackle your work when you're back. Those who don't prepare for holiday PTO can spoil their workplace reputations. 

4. They throw office parties that aren't inclusive.

Inclusivity is important. And, while office parties are meant to bring everyone together, they all too often drop the ball on being inclusive. This means that decor might be exclusive to one holiday that one faith recognizes, rather than being inclusive of every holiday or keeping it general. Perhaps the party takes place in the evening, but families aren't invited, so those with children and spouses may have a difficult time coming. Maybe the music at the party is a lot of Christmas songs, but there are few other holiday songs. Whatever it is, if you throw an office holiday party that isn't inclusive of and accommodating for everyone, it can take a toll on your office reputation.

5. They evade all asks for help.

When it's time to take holiday PTO, it's likely that you'll need some help — someone to cover you or lend a helping hand while you're out of the office. But if you're always asking for the help of others, and never offering any help in return so that your colleagues can also take PTO to be with their loved ones over the holidays, it can be a bad look. Do your best to make sure that the help is reciprocal. 

6. They make offensive holiday jokes.

Holiday jokes might be funny to you and your friends, but they definitely have no place in a professional setting. Ever.

7. They wear obnoxious holiday outfits.

Likewise, your ugly Christmas sweater that gets a lot of laughs at the holiday potluck with your friends may not be appropriate to wear to the office. Use common sense and discretion when dressing for office holiday parties.

8. They listen to too much holiday music at work.

Research says that listening to too much holiday music at work can actually have detrimental effects on your mental health. Of course, a dip in mental health can also take a toll on your workplace performance. Auditory researchers call it the "mass exposure effect." Essentially, while the music may make you feel happy and nostalgic at first, after some time, it can start to make you cringe. You'll end up expending the bulk of your energy trying to tune out the music, when you can be spending that energy on, well, doing your work.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.

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