We’ve all seen those “the dos and don’ts of the office Christmas party” articles that appear in the media each year – and I must confess I’ve written a few of them in my time, as it’s a great PR tactic.

You know the ones:

– don’t photocopy your arse

– don’t slap your bald boss’s head

– don’t trap off with a colleague in full view of your co-workers

Well, last night I saw first-hand how one employee with excessive Christmas cheer not only made a right **** of themselves but singlehandedly trashed the reputation of the company she worked for at the same time.

To set the scene

We went to one of those shared Christmas parties at a hotel in North Nottinghamshire with a comedy night theme. We were guests of the gang at Ideafuel, and the top bods from A1 Flue Systems joined us. Also in the room was the team from a car dealership in Sheffield, a bunch of engineers from a well-known telecoms company and a couple of other firms.

Once the food had been consumed, we kicked back in our chairs and the compère of the comedy evening came on, told a few knob gags and introduced the first act. And that’s when the heckling started from this person. From the outset it wasn’t funny, and in the space of about 20 minutes the room had turned on her after coming out in full sympathy for the comic, whose act was bombing as a result. And, to cut a long, excruciating story short, she calmed down but her incessant loud chatter to her workmates was still vexing for the rest of the night.

A reputation ruined

During the interval and after the show, the only talk among the rest of the room was the fact that they’d never cross the threshold of that car dealership if they were ever looking to buy a new vehicle. That’s because the criticism wasn’t just aimed at her but at the whole team, who should have done something about it.

What would you do?

An MD friend of mine found himself in the exact same situation a few years ago and finished his company’s Christmas party in A&E after tackling a drunken employee.

It goes to show how easily business reputations can be damaged by the actions of one stupid individual. But in that situation, what would you have done if you were that person’s boss?