The holiday season is here—now is the time to party! With the economy improving, more companies are planning to reward their employees with a holiday party.
The company party can be an exciting opportunity to have fun outside the boundaries of the office, but it can also be a minefield of trouble—enough to even derail a career.
If your company is hosting an end-of-year event, here are a few guidelines to have fun while keeping your reputation (or your job) intact:
- Although office parties are planned as a social event to reward employees, they remain strictly business events.
- Act as though your behavior is being observed every moment (most likely, you are).
- Always accept the invitation to the office party; passing up the festivities may damage your reputation in the company. When attending, spend at least 30
minutes at the party. Avoid being the last person to leave, unless you are helping with after-party cleanup.
- Conduct yourself professionally at all times. The holiday office party is not a reason to blow off steam or settle grudges. Remember, it is still a business function, so good manners and appropriate behavior matter.
- Be considerate and tasteful in gift giving. Leave gag gifts and questionable items for private parties.
- You can certainly take pictures of the festivities, but always get permission before posting photos on social media like Facebook or Twitter.
- Enjoy yourself at the party. Parties are an expensive way to reward employees, and it is good form to show your appreciation for the effort and expense.
- Dress appropriately. Company parties, although fun, are still business functions. Wear conservative party clothes, and ditch anything too revealing, like club wear.
- Act accordingly. Don’t be a flirt, or act inappropriately. Your character could be on the line.
- Don’t be a bore, or someone who talks only about business.
- Conversations should be positive and upbeat, avoiding off-color topics, rudeness and complaints.
- Don’t monopolize the conversation or talk only about yourself. Good conversation is a give and take; have a genuine interest in what others are saying.
- Keep your right hand free to give handshakes to other party-goers. Holding a drink in your right hand will make handshakes cold and wet.
- If there is an open bar, don’t over drink If there is a buffet, don’t overeat! Moderation is the best practice. Have a snack before arriving, or bite to eat afterwards.
- Holiday parties are the perfect opportunity to network with senior management and members from other departments in the organization. A holiday party is an ideal way to build relationships, so use the time wisely; make new connections or strengthen existing contacts.
- Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so be considerate with “Merry Christmas” and other holiday greetings.
- Know who is invited, and who is not. Some parties allow spouses, or other guests. Others are for employees only. Avoid bringing an inappropriate guest.
- Be grateful to those who planned, coordinated and set up the event. Make a point to thank them, either personally or with a thank you note. In addition, a note to thank the top brass is also a good move.
- Know the procedure for designated drivers, transportation, taxi services and the like. The biggest reason holiday parties have been limited in the past is the potential company liability when party-goers drive themselves home after drinking. Never, ever drink and drive.