Seven tips for avoiding an office holiday party faux pas

It’s that time of year again—the office holiday party.

When celebrated in an appropriate, respectable way, the annual tradition can create a sense of camaraderie, develop stronger office relations, show employee appreciation, and are collectively great for morale.

Go and enjoy the entertainment, just don’t become the entertainment. Wondering what you should and should not do at your office holiday party?

Here are few do’s and dont’s:

Show Up On Time. Don’t confuse the office holiday party as a social function – it’s a work function. Plan to arrive on time or soon after the party begins and don’t be the last to leave.

Dress the Part. Unless the invitation specifies black tie or casual, plan to wear something similar to what you wear to work. Women tend to gravitate towards more dressy attire which is totally acceptable, but remember to keep it professional. Save your sexy outfit for your friend’s New Year’s Eve party.

Don’t Forget Where You Are. Once you polish off your first drink, it’s easy to let loose a bit and forget that these are your coworkers and it’s an office-related event. You have to face these same people the next day and you don’t want to lose their respect (especially the boss). Have a drink or two but remember not to overdo it even if others are. And unless the party has a karaoke theme, save the singing for your car.

Don’t Bring “Shop Talk” to the Party. The whole idea of an office holiday party is to mix and mingle with coworkers in an informal setting. No one wants to discuss deadlines, upcoming projects, or difficult clients. Use this opportunity to get to know other colleagues outside of your immediate department or division and have a good time.

Avoid Office Gossip and Complaining. Once you’re out of the cube and in party mode, it’s easy to forget the office politics. Leave discussion of your personal life out of the evening and stick to more light-hearted topics. Don’t complain about your job with your coworkers and above all else, no office gossip. This can come back to bite you in a bad way.

Say Thank You. When your office holiday party involves food, drink, music, and more, it’s important to show your gratitude to the person who planned the event and your boss. A quick “thank you” before you leave is all that’s needed.

Show Up the Next Day. Let’s say you overindulged at the party and stayed out too late. Make sure to show up to work the next day. Nothing looks worse than calling in “sick” the day after the office holiday party.

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