With about a week until Christmas, office parties are happening and you need to be prepared. It’s one of those must-do things, where either we are extremely excited about attending or just not looking forward to it at all. But I would guess that most times, many of us force ourselves to go and wind up having a really good time.
It’s especially fun when we see the real personalities of the every day people we have the pleasure of working with. You know, like the guy who always stays to himself 364 days a year, but then will all of a sudden be the life of the office party, or the girl who is nice and conservative at work, but winds up dancing on the tables.
Whatever the case, it’s fun when you’re not bound by all of the formalities of the normal work day and get to party — a little.
Don’t get too excited just yet.
These parties seem like the opportune time to let loose and go crazy, but you should think twice. According to business etiquette expert Lydia Ramsey, “The holiday party is not the time to let down your hair or throw caution to the wind. What you say and do on Saturday night will live on for a long time in the minds of your associates. If your behavior is inappropriate, your career may be shorter than everyone else’s memory. If you conduct yourself with charm and savvy, your rise up the ladder of success could pick up speed.”
Although it may makes sense to drink it up and dance it out, think about where you want to be with the company in the future and make sure to act appropriately in order to save your reputation. I recently posted a question on Facebook asking for funny office holiday party stories. To sum up the few answers I received, the consensus is along the lines of: “What happens at an office party, stays at an office party.” Most of us can relate, right? Even if you were just an innocent bystander at a past holiday shindig, I’m sure you’ve seen those co-workers where you thought, “Oh boy, they are going to regret that!”
Speaking of regrets, let’s talk about what to wear at your office party. As Ramsey says, it’s not the time to show up in your most revealing outfit. Make sure that what you wear reflects well on you professionally. And remember that if it’s an event that is immediately after work, then your business attire is appropriate.
At these parties, it may be one of the few times you will get to meet the “higher ups,” so you want to always be alert and on your game. These parties are a great way to get to know everyone on a more personal level and if you are in a big organization it’s a way to get to know people from different departments.
Other points you should remember: first, don’t take it upon yourself to invite a guest because, unless you ask first, you won’t know if there will be enough room or if your company is working off of a budget. Especially when it comes to brining your kids, it’s important to find out if it’s a family-friendly gathering. Also, remember that this is a work party so you are pretty much required to go; but it’s not proper to just show up and leave. You should stay for at least an hour. And don’t gossip or complain. Try to compliment people or switch topics if you start to hear a lot of negativity — it just brings everyone down and causes an awkward environment.
Attending an office party — especially during usual work hours — you are still working in a sense, so make sure to be on your best behavior. Of course, it’s OK to let loose a little, but think of the party more as a mix and mingle with co-workers.
Remember to be smart, don’t drink too much and keep your wits about you. It’s the way to go and will keep you safe on your business journey.
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.