The holidays are here and that means lots of parties to attend. For office or company parties it is important to remember that the emphasis is always on work more than party. There may be decorations and your boss may be drinking punch, but you are still representing your company. Here are the unspoken etiquette rules of an office holiday party.
If you are planning the event, be considerate of your co-workers. When can most attend? It may not be necessary to plan an event outside of work hours so that people do not have to find child care. If the party is after business hours, make the guest list clear. Can partners attend or children? If the part must be off-site, choose a venue that reflects well on the company and employees. Consider the privacy of others. Not everyone wants their picture taken or even posted on social media all night. Help control party photos by creating a holiday party hashtag for the event or set up a photo booth for people to take funny pictures in.
Look to the invitation for dress code. No matter if the event is cocktail attire or holiday festive, you do not want to show more skin than usual or be the crazy costume guy. It is ok to wear something nice but not something you wouldn’t feel comfortable in at a meeting. To be festive, try subtle decorations like a colorful tie or brightly colored jewelry.
Parties can be fun but also awkward if they are obligatory. Prepare conversation topics beforehand so time goes smoother. Ask colleagues about holiday plans or congratulate them on meeting year-end goals. Be mindful of who you bring as a guest as their behavior and dress reflect upon you.
When taking pictures or video, remember that you are at work. Before taking a picture or posting it on social media, always ask if it is appropriate for your boss to see. Some companies encourage the “fridge rule”. Would you put any of the pictures on the fridge for your kids to see?
Office parties are a great time to give gifts to colleagues, assistants, or bosses. Keep gifts simple and general however and not too personal.
Be safe and nurse your drink throughout the night to avoid drinking too much if there is an open bar.