The Dos and Don'ts of Attending Your Holiday Office Party
’Tis the season of office holiday parties, an occasion to celebrate, unwind, and get to know your colleagues. Whether your annual festivities tend to be formal or relaxed, it’s important to know one thing: Like any work situation, office holiday parties have a specific set of etiquette rules. Misjudge the situation by drinking one too many cocktails, and that seemingly innocent evening could change the way your colleagues perceive you. Navigate it wisely, and it’s a chance to break down rigid office formalities to get to know those you work with a little better.
Here, we’ve pinpointed the top nine dos and don’ts to ensure you have a blast without becoming the subject of watercooler gossip. Put down your glass, chat with a colleague from a different department, and be the first to partake in the holiday photo booth—this is how successful people navigate a work party, regret-free.
Do: Dress Up
Every day at the office is an occasion to present yourself, but your holiday office party is an opportunity to look a little more dressed up than normal. The same rules of polish and professionalism should still apply; don’t try to be too edgy or show more skin than you would in the workplace.
You spend every workday with your team; your office holiday party is your chance to step out of your comfort zone and routine and meet someone new. Be brave and strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never spoken to, perhaps from a different department. Chances are you’ll make a new friend.
Don't: Be Shy
Do: Pose for Photos
If your holiday party has a photo booth or an on-site photographer, get in front of the flash. Posing for photos shows that you’re happy to be at the event and surrounded by your colleagues, and you’re naïve if you don’t think your executives will be scrolling the film the next day. Plus, when your company grows from 30 to 300 or you rise through the ranks, it will be so fun to have those shots to look back at and realize how far you’ve come.
Don't: Talk Shop
If there’s one hard and fast rule of the office holiday party, it’s to not talk shop. This party was planned so that you and your co-workers could enjoy yourselves and bond on a friendly level. It’s not the time to strategize your next sales call. Talk to your colleagues about their family, their favorite local restaurants, or how hungover you were after the last party. Anything but shop.
Especially if you work in a large office, it’s important to network at your office get-togethers. Meeting people in different departments than yours or getting familiar with your superiors can only help you. You never know when you’re going to want to make a change or even need a favor.
Do: Limit Your Drinks
There’s always one person who becomes too starry-eyed by the open bar and goes down in company history. Don’t be that person. Have a couple of glasses of wine, but know your limit. You’re surrounded by your colleagues; you should keep your composure as in any other situation.
Too much celebrating can put you at the risk of oversharing your personal issues, which might put you in an awkward position on Monday morning. After a few too many drinks, you might also find yourself gossiping or unleashing your interoffice beefs on co-workers. Zip it up and resist the urge to blab.
Getting busy with your colleagues is rarely a good idea, no matter what position you’re in. And if you must, the holiday office party is not the time get huggy with that sales exec. People talk, and you don’t need rumors following you.
Whether your office manager planned your holiday get-together or your company hired an event planner to tackle a large-scale bash, a lot of effort was put into arranging this shindig. So participate in whatever your company has planned for you, be it bowling, dancing, or trivia games. After all, the event only comes once a year.