Christmas time is the most wonderful period of the year, and with it comes office parties.
Human resources management guru Qaqamba Klaas says this is also a time when people lose self-control and common sense resulting in catastrophic long-term consequences.
"Though office parties afford people an opportunity to network and have fun, the parties have a tendency of getting people off track, leaving them with a stigma that attaches itself to them for their career lives."
Klaas says a lot of employees forget that though office parties are aimed at rewarding employees and raising morale, they remain strictly business events.
"It is therefore advisable for employees to conduct themselves in a professional way at all times. Even though it might look like the bosses are not watching your behaviour, truth is, they are.
"These parties are fertile ground for office gossips. It is important to be in your best behaviour if you do not want to be subjected to office gossip."
Klaas says she has come across incidents of employees who use the office party as an excuse to blow off steam.
"Some employees see these parties as an opportunity to get beef that they have been harbouring for months off their chests. This is not the time to complain, brag, correct, whinge or ridicule your colleagues or superiors."
She advises people to introduce themselves and network with people at the party who can influence their careers such as top management, people from other departments and employees from other locations. Klaas says excessive drinking is the cause of most party misbehaviour.
"End-of-the-year parties are blessed with tons of free booze. Don't feel you need to drink excessively just because it's an open bar. And don't pig-out at the food either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party."
Klaas warns people not to flirt or pass dirty jokes. "Flirting may be considered harmless, but some people may see flirting as sexual harassment. Make sure you keep your hands to yourself, whether you are a man or a woman."
Sometimes spouses or partners are on the guest list. Klaas advises employees to bring an appropriate person as a guest.
"Make sure that the partner is dressed appropriately and decently. We understand that you are going to a party but don't dress like you are going to some night club.
"Don't pull the nightclub attire from your closet for the event - and do ask whether the attire for the party is formal or casual. The party is still a business function, so conservative party clothes are a good choice."