As the holiday season approaches, the both revered and dreaded end-of-year office party looms. It’s surprising, yet true, that many folks need reminding that it’s still an office function. Whether you’re a new employee attending for the first time or a manager throwing the traditional festive season shindig for your team, here are some must-know office party etiquette tips.
If you’re planning the party – work smart, not hard
Most office parties revolve around a theme. Who doesn’t love themed parties? The answer: many, many people. While you may have won every “best costume” award since your days as a junior, be considerate of these souls by choosing a theme that doesn’t necessarily require a trip to a costume store. All the best ones are taken this time of year anyway.
The next thing everyone wants to know about is the food situation. In short, don’t be stingy but you can also avoid the need for a full dinner by opting for party platters , cocktail canapés and mini – but filling – meals. You don’t want people going ‘hangry’ or drinking on an empty stomach.
And speaking about drinking …
The secret ingredient is always moderation
Generally speaking, most of the embarrassing moments at corporate functions are due to excessive alcohol consumption. This is how you can lose the respect of your colleagues and seniors, so try to be safe rather than sorry. A good trick is to eat a little before you go so that you’re not necessarily drinking on an empty stomach while waiting for food or snacks to be served.
This is also a great time to be moderate with water between the wide range of drinks usually available at office parties. You can always opt for sparkling water if you’d still like something bubbly in your glass.
And of course be responsible. There’s nothing sloppier than a drunken person insisting on driving home. If you’re going large, then ensure you have a ride home planned.
Coming and goings
It’s really easy to keep this point short and sweet. On the day, it’s undeniably more fun to make an entrance, join the party when it’s already in full swing, not have to do anything other than rock up and rock the night. But…don’t be so late that it’s perceived as rude and under no circumstances be the last one left. That is unless you volunteer to help the clean-up crew.
Read the room
Generally, a good rule of thumb is to follow the crowd – if there are plenty of people dancing then, by all means, join in and tear up the dance floor. However, if mostly everyone is sitting around and chatting, then the time isn’t right to break it down. Also, try not to monopolise any one person’s time, keep moving around the room. You might meet someone new.
Lights, camera, action
In our current social media driven age, almost every party is inundated with people taking photos and recording videos on their phones. Unfortunately, not everyone understands how to respect the privacy of fellow employees. Don’t upload anything that you yourself would be embarrassed to see. It’s just common courtesy and kind.
At the end of the day, there are many opportunities to let it all hang loose with family and friends. The way you behave at your office party can leave everlasting impressions – hopefully good ones. Relish the opportunity to improve your relationships with co-workers and seniors alike.