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The office Christmas party season is upon us! Many of our salaried friends have already started moaning about ‘having to’ attend, and soon we’ll be regaled with photos and gossip about what happened at this year’s shindig. Employees seem to have a love hate relationship with the office Christmas party; some look forward to letting their hair down with colleagues, for others it fills them with dread.

On the other side of the fence, the self-employed side, many of us feel a bit left out. Just like taking the kids to visit Santa’s Grotto, bulk buying presents on Black Friday, and putting the Xmas tree up, the office Christmas party marks the start of the festivities. It also highlights that for many us work is a solo affair, we work for ourselves and by ourselves, regardless of what great relationships we might have with our customers and suppliers.

So if you’re feeling like ‘Billy No Mates’ with no colleagues to have a Christmas knees up with, what can you do to get in the festive spirit? Here are my top suggestions:

Get invited to a client or suppliers’ Christmas party

I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be invited to a clients’ Christmas party for the first time, as the last Christmas party I attended as an employee was in the 90s!

Many of us freelancers and sole traders who work in the B2B sectors have a good chance of an invite as we’re often viewed as an extension of our clients’ teams. Now’s the time to drop a few hints if the invite is lost in the post!

Word of warning. You may feel like you’re part of your clients’ team, but there is a difference between being an employee and a supplier. Make sure you keep it professional, however friendly you are with everyone. Ultimately you’re representing your business, not just yourself.

Be a ‘plus one’ at your partner’s Christmas do

Prior to self-employment I would find every excuse possible to not attend my partner’s office Christmas party! What could be worse than hanging out with colleagues that you don’t really like than hanging out with someone else’s colleagues that you don’t really like?!

Now I’ve changed my tune as a night out, paid for by a someone else, is very attractive. Sadly, my partner is also self-employed so we’ll just have to have our own Christmas party, perhaps invite the kids and call it Christmas Day…

If you’ve got a ‘plus one’, make the most of it!

Self-employed Christmas parties

Increasingly self-employed people are joining up to celebrate together. Many business networking groups and clubs have a Christmas event with a focus on the social aspect of networking, rather than doing business. Some events are more informal, for example a group of local creative freelancers meeting up for Christmas drinks and a chance to share what they’ve been doing for the last 12 months.

I think this is probably the best type of Christmas party of all. The people you hang out with won’t be your colleagues or bosses, so there’s no awkwardness or past history to make it difficult, and everyone wants to have a good time but leave the right impression.

This year we’re having a Xmas Bash for local business owners, Bordon Hub members, freelancers and SiGNAL coworkers. It’s at Blacknest Golf Club on Friday 14th December and is only £34.95 for a slap-up dinner and a glass or two. This is a great chance to round off 2018 with your friends from SiGNAL, so if you’re missing the office Christmas party come and party with us instead!

Call 01420 556335 or email work@signalbordon.org for more details and booking.

office Christmas party