Drinking Too Much Tops Office Party Gaffes

December 14, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Drinking too much alcohol ranked as the biggest mistake employees make at office parties, according to 79% of executives responding to the TheLadders.com's Holiday Survey.

Flirting with coworkers or someone else’s spouse ranked as the second biggest office party faux pas (53%), followed by dirty dancing (42%), wearing inappropriate outfits (41%), discussing “hot button” topics (35%), and bringing poorly behaved guests (33%) – but more than a quarter said the biggest mistake was skipping the party altogether.

Asked if they had ever been involved in an embarrassing incident at a company holiday party, a scant 14% of executives admitted that they had.

On the Other Hand…

Despite the potential pitfalls of office holiday parties, 65% of executives said they’re a great way to celebrate, bond with employees and have fun – although one-in-five said those gatherings were a waste of money, and 15% said they’re a burden and they’d rather not attend.

Asked whether they’d be buying gifts for anyone at the office this year, 35% of executives said “no.” However, among those who are buying gifts:

  • 27% are getting them for coworkers;
  • 22% are getting them for the boss;
  • 20% for direct reports;
  • 18% for assistants; and
  • 16% for clients.

Most (56%) plan to spend less than $100 in total on work-related gifts.

TheLadders.com’s Holiday Survey was conducted in November 2006 and included 1,200 executives.