With the holiday season upon us, many businesses often hold a large, company-wide celebration to commemorate the end of a year of hard work. Often involving food, drinks, and dancing, this annual company gala can be quite fun. However, just like any job-related event, the office holiday party is also notorious for being a potential minefield of social blunders.
Perhaps it’s because alcohol is often involved, but many employees forget even basic office etiquette and engage in unprofessional behavior. Your boss at a party is still your boss however, so here are some tips for enjoying the night without hurting your career.
Don’t Skip Out Entirely
While it may be tempting to skip the office party, this can be a major mistake. First of all, some employers view not going to a company event as a lack of commitment. Second, it might hurt your reputation, since people (like your boss) will expect you there. Lastly, many companies spend a pretty penny on their annual party as a holiday bonus to their employees. Not showing up also means you miss out on possibly the only reward given for that year of work.
In general, don’t show up too early or linger too late. Even if you’re not the party type, at least make an appearance and attend for half an hour.
Follow the Dress Code
Just because it’s a holiday party doesn’t mean that over-the-top, revealing, or nightclub style clothing is acceptable. Find out the dress code and choose your outfit accordingly. Depending on the event, this may be black tie, business casual, or holiday themed.
If in doubt, always keep in mind that a company party is also a professional setting, so be conservative and dress in good taste.
Especially once the drinks start flowing, inappropriate behavior at the office party can become a major issue. Whether it’s gossiping, dirty dancing, hitting on co-workers, overeating at the buffet, getting into arguments, or getting drunk, there are a lot of things you should not do.
Likewise, dominating conversations, asking for a raise, or challenging your boss to a drinking competition also tend to be bad ideas.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, however, don’t go all out and act like the holiday office party is some wild New Year’s bash. After all, unless you get yourself fired, you will still be working with these people the next day. The last thing you want is to be known as the guy who yelled insults at the CEO, threw up on the dance floor, or chased skirts all evening.
Build Business Relationships
While there are admittedly a lot of behaviors to avoid at the holiday office party, many people forget the positive and professional things they should do.
Make use of the social event to get to know others and build new (or stronger) business connections. Networking with company heads or individuals from other departments can be extremely valuable for your career. Lastly, it’s always in good taste to thank the person in charge of organizing the event.