Office Parties: Breeding Grounds for Bad Behavior, Flings, and Unemployment

Ah, the holiday office party. A time for employees to wind down, loosen their ties, drink some bubbly, and enjoy a night of much-earned revelry with co-workers. That is, until they wake up hungover and half-naked on top of the copy machine, covered in Post-it notes and crumpled Four Loko cans, and realize their reputation is ruined.

According to a study by HR solutions firm Adecco, this kind of unsavory behavior at office parties is far more common than you might expect. Published this week, the survey of more than a thousand American adults found that about 40% of workers say they’ve either embarrassed themselves or know someone who has at a work holiday party. And a shocking 23%–1 in 4!–have been reprimanded for their actions.

Pink slips are almost as frequent as red faces. More than 1 in 10 Americans say they know someone who has been fired for their inappropriate behavior at a holiday party. This behavior may include saying something inappropriate to a colleague (7%) or boss (4%), or drinking too much (20%).

Hookups happen, of course, but not as often as you might expect. Just 3% of respondents said they had had a fling with a colleague at a work holiday party. It may be the kind of thing people don’t own up to–or it may be that being inebriated hurts your chances as much as it helps.

So be careful this holiday season. Try not to drink too much, sleep with your co-worker, insult your boss, or get fired. It’s not worth it.

[Photo by Beltzner]AC