What is Phubbing and How to Prevent it at Your Staff Christmas Party

By Charlie Knight |



So, the festive season is almost here. Offices around the country will be gearing up for the Christmas party. If you plan to host a get-together for your workforce, there's one thing you want to avoid. Now that everyone has smartphones, there is a growing trend that can kill any party. Phubbing is something that many people do each day, yet few realise they are guilty of it. If you want the party to be a massive hit, you need to stop people doing this thing. 

What is phubbing?

First, let's go into a little detail about what phubbing is. This word is a combination of phone and snubbing. When someone 'phubs' you, it means that they ignore you to look at their phone. These days, you can do almost anything on your smartphone. From playing games and Snapchatting to reading emails and the news, there's a lot to do. The main issue with this phenomenon is the impact it has on social gatherings.

We've all been there - you're sitting at dinner with your friend, chatting gleefully. When you look up, though, you realise your mate is not paying attention to a word you're saying. Instead, they have fixed their gaze on their phone screen. It doesn't matter what they are doing. The point is that they are ignoring an actual person for their handheld technology. It's not healthy and it's rude. When did we lose the art of conversation, eh? When your Christmas party comes around, it's your job to stop this annoying habit from ruining it.

Why does it happen?

So, why do people phub others in this way? Well, there are a few different reasons that people prefer their phones to socialising. For one thing, many people suffer from social anxiety. That means that they feel fearful about interacting with others, especially in forced situations. Rather than facing the problem head-on, they use their phones to avoid it. When they stare at their smartphones, they feel that they don't have to interact with anyone at all. It is that simple.

Another reason that phubbing is such a massive deal is because people rely on technology. All too often, people feel that they need to stay in touch with the world. By reading the news or flicking through social media, they believe that they are ahead of the game. What these people don't realise, though, is that they miss out on things when they ignore the people around them.

What effect does it have?

When phubbing starts, it has an adverse impact on just about everyone. The person who is the victim of the phubbing feels upset that their friend is ignoring them. They might even leave the situation altogether. You will notice that there is an impact on the entire party. People will start to feel uncomfortable and no one will interact with one another. On the whole, this issue means that people will not engage with the party. While they might be there in body, their mind will be elsewhere.

How can you stop it?

Your sole aim should be to nip phubbing in the bud before it's too late. Short of taking people's phones off them, you have to come up with some creative ideas. You can't outright tell people to stop playing with their phones. Your technique should be more subtle than that. Here are a few ideas that might work for you.

Interactive games

You need to get everyone to engage with one another, so what can you do? It might sound a little childish to play games at an adult's Christmas party, but it's sure to get people in the mood. Before the celebration, arrange some games for the event. For example, you could create a festive quiz. Split the group up into teams. That way, people will have to interact with one another when it comes to discussing the answers. Also, you can impose a strict 'no phones' policy when the quiz is happening. After all, looking at your phone is cheating!

Conversation starters

At a social event like this one, you need to get people to talk to one another. If you fear that people will struggle with this part of the event, you might want to help them along the way. You could create a conversation-starter bucket. Write down lots of topics on pieces of paper and put them in a bucket. When the chit-chat dries up, all someone has to do is reach into the bucket and pull out a topic. Make it clear to people that they are here to socialise, not to hide away behind their smartphone.

Host competitions

Everyone loves contests. If there is a chance to win something, people will always want to have a go. From raffles to games, there are many competitions you could host. Before the event, ensure that you have some excellent prizes for people to win. When you are announcing the winners, people are sure to pay attention to what you have to say. When things are going on, the guests should have no reason to stare at their phones all the time.

Make a game of it

If all else fails, you might have to make your tactics direct. You could highlight the issue to the group. Don't be a dictator about things! Instead, you need to keep things as lighthearted as possible. Tell people that you're going to run a competition. Whoever can go the longest without looking at their phone will win a bottle of wine. It will surprise you how competitive people get when it comes down to it. This game will mean that people do their best to avoid grabbing their smartphones. It will also show people how much they rely on their devices during social gatherings.

Remember, Christmas parties are an excellent chance for people to socialise with their colleagues. If you want your team to build strong bonds with one another, you need to make the most of this event! Once you stop people phubbing each other, it should be a blast.

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Source: Vine 7

Charlie Knight

Written by Charlie Knight

Charlie has 3 years experience in digital marketing, helping B2B technology companies grow their businesses through inbound marketing before joining Vine Resources as Content Marketing Manager. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys travelling and the great outdoors, and he recently hiked from Mexico to Canada for charity.