Office holiday parties are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the hard work everyone has put in during the year and to get to know all of your co-workers. This work event, however, requires much different etiquette than any other party you might attend with your friends or family. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the soiree while still conducting yourself in a professional manner:
Ask about plus ones
You may want to bring your spouse or significant other with you to your holiday party, but not every office allows plus ones at the event. Before you assume that your other half is invited, be sure to ask first.
If you are allowed to bring a plus one to your office get-together, be careful about who you bring. That person can either reflect positively or negatively on you. Fill that person in on the dress code beforehand so they don’t show up and stand out like a sore thumb.
Pay attention to dress code
If you’re not already familiar with the dress code for your office’s holiday get-together, then ask. You don’t to show up and be extremely underdressed (it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed).
Watch how much you drink
As a basic rule of thumb, you should only have one cocktail or alcoholic beverage per hour. In between drinks, have a glass of water to keep yourself hydrated. Make sure to eat dinner before the event as well, or stock up on any appetizers that may be offered. Drinking on an empty stomach can be bad news. One too many drinks could end up tarnishing your professional reputation, which you can’t undo.
When you do have a drink, however, be sure to keep it in your left hand. This frees up your right hand for introductions, so you won’t have to deal with awkward handshakes as you attempt to free yourself of a cocktail or a handful of appetizers.
Avoid touchy topics
Sometimes the laid back environment of a party makes touchy subjects like politics and religion seem OK to discuss. These aren’t work appropriate, so stick to topics like holiday plans, kids, movies, hobbies, television shows and so forth. As for work talk, you’ll want to keep that short and sweet.
Chances are, you don’t know every single person in your office, so this holiday party is a great opportunity to mingle with everyone. It can be comfortable hanging around people you already know. Instead of staying in one group of people throughout the entire event, make your way around the venue and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
That being said, put your cellphone away. It’s not polite to sit on your phone all night. Plus, this doesn’t make you particularly approachable to others.
Send thank you cards
After the party has come to a close, write a quick thank you note to whoever put the event together. Expressing your gratitude for a fun night out on the company’s bill will reflect positively on you and show your appreciation.