Tis the season when many of us plan to attend company office holiday parties. There will be lots of food and drink to enjoy while chatting it up with fellow co-workers. Should I stick to the egg nog or indulge in a glass of wine? Should I wear my favorite sparkly red cocktail dress and high heels? Should I take some food home to snack on later? Should I sit on Santa’s lap?
What to do – and not to do.
According to industry surveys, approximately 15 percent of companies that have hosted holiday parties indicate inappropriate employee behavior has impacted an individual’s career growth in the company.
Let me help you put your mind at ease by offering some office holiday party etiquette guidelines. By being prepared, you can be merry and boost your career, not sink it.
Watch the Alcohol
It’s okay to enjoy a drink or two at the office holiday party, but do so in moderation. Alcohol can loosen inhibitions and lead you to say or do things you might regret. Alternate water or a soft drink in between your alcohol beverages. After all, you don’t want to be the talk of the office party come Monday morning.
The buffet is tempting, but try to refrain from stuffing yourself with shrimp and overloading your plate with other tasty holiday treats. Remember the quantity was ordered by portion so everyone can enjoy. Eat a snack beforehand. The food should not be your main focus. Instead, concentrate on visiting with your colleagues and less on the cheese ball.
Know the Attire
If you’re unsure what to wear, it’s a good idea to ask your company planner what the expectation is for attire. Unless specifically noted, don’t show up in an ugly Christmas sweater with blinking holiday bulbs hanging from your ears and avoid wearing sexy evening garb. Leave the Santa wear and fancy clothes in your closet. Opt for stylish, conservative clothing, which will help keep your professionalism intact.
Enjoy Small Talk and Network
Take advantage of the opportunity to engage in conversations with lots of
co-workers. Get in the holiday spirit and make new acquaintances, strike up conversations with co-workers from other departments and introduce yourself to company leaders. There’s nothing worse than spending the entire evening talking only to those you know best. Being conversational and polite leave lasting impressions.
Watch the Clock
If you’re going to be late, let the company host and your boss know. Showing up an hour late or 30 minutes before the end of the office party shows poor business judgement and disinterest – and so does being the last to leave. Imagine hosting an important office meeting. You wouldn’t think of being late or keeping your colleagues long past the scheduled meeting time. The same rules apply.
Say Thank You
Planning an office holiday party can be a lot of work, especially when you’re juggling lots of other year-end responsibilities. Don’t forget to thank the party planner for his/her festive efforts. Sending a hand-written note to your boss also is a nice touch. Manners matter and both the good and bad get noticed.