Parties are fun. Holiday parties are even more fun. But what about office holiday parties? Not the office luncheon where things are controlled but the evening holiday office party where you spend the evening dining and drinking with colleagues whom you may or may not like?
Many people would describe the above as an evening filled with anxiety because they’re not sure how to behave. So, with the holidays upon us and office parties imminent, what is the proper etiquette for an office holiday party?
First of all, know the attire. You don’t want to show up in jeans and a holiday sweater if it’s a formal affair. Also be sure to dress appropriately. In other words, don’t show off the new tattoo or too much leg. This is supposed to be a relaxing evening but you’re still socializing with colleagues and superiors so there is a fine line.
Second, you’re socializing. So, socialize! Don’t discuss business all evening and don’t be rigid like it’s another day at the office. Enjoy yourself. And, if you’re not, act like you’re enjoying yourself. These may be your colleagues and you may have places you’d rather be but being sociable, even if you’re feigning it, will make things easier for you at the office.
If you work at a large office, don’t just spend the evening hanging out with your department and the same people you see every day. Mingle, smile and have a good time. You never know what may come of shaking the hand of another department head. See how this becomes an easy and relaxed networking event for you?
Third, and this should go without saying, do not drink too much. This is a social event but it’s with people you see every day in a professional setting. You don’t need them remembering you dancing on the tables all night. Plus, if you’re only having a drink or two, you stay sharp and can seize any networking opportunities that may come your way.
There is a difference between a holiday party with friends and a holiday party with colleagues. While you’re still the same person, your colleagues only know you as a business professional and, frankly, it should be kept that way. Sure, you can relax, have a couple of drinks, socialize and have a good evening. But, don’t do anything you would be embarrassed about or anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see plastered on Facebook.
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