Have fun at the office party but be careful
Don’t forget where you are or who else is there
Most companies have standards and practices that dictate how employees should conduct themselves; however, the office holiday party is an event that comes with its own best behavior suggestions. Use these tips from human resources experts to make sure you enjoy the scene without making one: Do socialize strategically “Speak to any and everyone,” says Sonja Traxler-Nwabuoku, author of Office Etiquette: The Unspoken Rules in the Workplace. “If the party is open to all departments, spend time speaking with others that you may not normally speak to in the office, but keep the conversation light.”
Don’t bash your boss
Along with avoiding deep discussions about politics and religion, be sure to stay away from bashing the bosses. “Why waste a celebration on negativity? Plus, they’re essentially your hosts!” says Nicole Belyna, manager of recruiting and recruiting strategy for Thompson Creek Window Company in Lanham, Md., and a member of the expertise panel for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Do watch what you wear
“If you have a question and any doubts about the type of outfit you are going to wear, then don’t wear it,” says Ashley Inman, human resources talent specialist for Ferrovial Services in Austin, Texas, who also is a member of the expertise panel for SHRM. “Ask around the office to find out what they wore last year if you are new.”
A little festive fun can go a long way. Don’t shy away from a touch of glitter or sequins or even a few jingle bells. Those accents can be conversation starters and help express a side of your personality that your colleagues don’t usually see.
Belyna’s company encouraged festive attire for its most recent holiday party, requesting guests wear their most hideous ugly sweaters.
Do move modestly
Few can forget when Elaine Benes of TV’s “Seinfeld,” hit the dance floor at her office’s holiday party. Be sure your moves aren’t that memorable. Belyna suggests limiting your moves to those you’d do in front of your mom.
Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. consultancy group, encourages dancing. “If you don’t know how to dance appropriately, then just watch other people and blend in with the general vibe.”
Don’t attract attention
Traxler-Nwabuoku stresses that “the office party isn’t a place where you should be aiming to stand out from the crowd.” Inman agrees: “Senior leadership is there, and they do have an eye out,” she says. “Don’t forget where you are and why you are there.”
Simply follow what Belyna defines as the “ultimate intention” of a holiday party: “to celebrate success and let employees enjoy time together.”
Don’t bore people
While mixing and mingling with those who might help boost your career is a good idea, Traxler-Nwabuoku discourages coming on too strong during the festivities: “Do not bore people by trying to impress them with how much you know or rave about your current projects. This should be a fun event for them as well.”
Don’t overdo it
Nearly half — 49 percent — of holiday parties in 2017 planned to provide alcohol, down from almost 62 percent in 2016, according to an annual survey from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
“Less alcohol encourages more appropriate behavior and in the current climate, people are more conscious of appropriate workplace behavior,” says Challenger.
“Being drunk is never a good look. You might be the life of the party that night, but it will hurt you for the next 365 days.”
Use common sense, notes Belyna. “If you know that you start to get a little sassy after a couple drinks, then limit yourself to one, or don’t drink at all.”
Although it’s a party, you must still abide by office guidelines.
“Remember, you are at a work-related function. You don’t want to make choices that could damage your credibility.”
Do mingle with your co-workers at a workplace party but use care with how much your drink.