The holidays have arrived and the (dreaded??) annual office party is just around the corner. This event is a great opportunity to celebrate the annual accomplishments of the company and socialize outside of the regular office environment. Abiding by the rules of office party etiquette will ensure your participation in the holiday celebration is a pleasant one and doesn’t become a cautionary tale. Following are some the rules to balance good cheer and good times while remaining professional.
Mix and mingle
Talk to associates that you don’t usually get a chance to chat with like executives, managers and people in other departments. Making new contacts in a relaxed setting can lead to a promotion down the road. Say hello and introduce yourself to everyone and make sure to keep your conversation professional and upbeat.
Don’t gossip about others
Sometimes it can be difficult to make small talk. But don’t resort to listening to or spreading gossip. While it might be tempting to tell your coworkers that the regional manager is having an affair with that redhead from accounting, don’t. Keep it to yourself. Gossiping, especially at a party is in very bad taste and could backfire on you.
Know your limits
Have a drink or two over the course of the evening, but don’t be the girl or the guy who gets carried out of the party. The best strategy when it comes to alcohol at a work-related function is to abstain entirely. But if you feel comfortable drinking, do so moderately. Try alternating your alcoholic drink with a soda or punch and be sure to eat so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach.
Dress to impress
The importance of dressing tastefully cannot be over stressed at an office holiday party. Leave your revealing, tight outfits in the closet and keep your cleavage and bare skin to a minimum. Female employees often use holiday office parties to reveal their wild side, resulting in fashion disasters such as skirts that are too short and stiletto heels that are better suited for pole dancing. All it takes is one bad outfit to ruin the professional reputation you’ve worked so hard to establish all year.
Arrive on time
Being punctual is important, even at the office holiday party. Showing up on time tells your coworkers that being part of the group is important to you. Plan to stay at the party for at least an hour even if you don’t want to be there.
Don’t ruin your reputation
If you’re single, don’t leave the party with that guy you’ve had a crush on all year. The rule is, if you arrived alone you should leave alone or risk making gossip material out of yourself. On the other hand, if that special guy asks you if you’d like have coffee or go back to his place after the party, politely decline, but feel free to make a date to see him another night.
Be a gracious guest
Find out who organized the party and be sure to thank them. A lot of planning and hard work goes into office holiday parties and a few kind words of appreciation won’t go unnoticed.