It is the time of year again when companies everywhere are planning their holiday celebrations. While it is a great time to unwind and enjoy coworkers and management alike, it is an easy time to make a misstep that can affect your job. Follow these simple rules for a disaster-free office party.
Respect the Diversity of the Office. If your office has a diverse religious population, be sensitive with theme, decorations, entertainment, and games. It is important to make everyone feel welcomed and included in the holiday celebration.
Pick an Appropriate Venue. The attitude and culture of the office should be considered when choosing where to host the party. A bar may be not be appropriate for a conservative workplace. A buttoned-up fancy restaurant may not be the proper location for a more progressive workplace. Make sure the employees will be comfortable wherever you choose.
Determine Who is Invited. Decide early in the planning process who will be included in the festivities. Budget constraints are causing lots of businesses to scale back, so often the budget will determine if families or “plus ones” will be included.
Think about Time of Day. When is the best time for your employees to celebrate, and what works best within the party budget? It is often a huge treat in itself to close the office for an extended lunch. Middle of the day celebrations also tend to be less expensive. If the majority of employees are parents or have many outside obligations, it may also make more sense to plan a lunch. For other businesses, it is impossible to do something during office hours. Also, employees may look forward to a chance to enjoy a night out at a holiday party.
Make the Invite Clear. Don’t leave any of the details to chance. Be specific about whether guests are included, what the dress is, and if there will be a cash bar. Being clear will help avoid any uncomfortable situations.
Don’t Drink too Much. Often there is a bar at the company party. Be very careful with the amount you and your date drink. Embarrassing situations can quickly arise when coworkers are intoxicated. It will be difficult to show your face at work on Monday if you make a fool out of yourself in front of the boss.
Dress to Impress. Determine ahead of time acceptable party attire. It never feels good to show up in the wrong thing. It is uncomfortable to show up in a cocktail dress when the boss is in jeans. Avoid the mortification of wearing a tacky Christmas vest if you are supposed to be wearing a tux. It is also wise to err on the side of conservative when choosing for the work party. Too much cleavage and too tight clothing are as inappropriate at the office holiday party as they are at the office.
Make an Effort. Your demeanor at the Christmas work party is important. Having a holiday celebration is a gift from your employer. Being unappreciative reflects poorly on your character and makes you look bad to other coworkers and ultimately your boss. It is important to smile, make appropriate small talk, and enjoy yourself. Participate in whatever is being offered, whether it is karaoke, dancing, games, or singing carols. Anything less will be noticed.
Attendance is Important. How often do you find yourself enjoying hors d ’Oeuvres and a beer with your boss? The holiday party is one of the only times of the year most employees have to chat with the higher-ups in a relaxed atmosphere. Also, it does not look good to simply “make an appearance.” Others will note that you did not stay through the owner’s boring speech or the gift exchange.
Don’t do Anything that can Affect Your Job. Drinks and dancing may lead coworkers to do things that would never happen in the light of the day. Remember that office gossip can be fierce, and mistakes at the Christmas party can decimate your reputation. Any inappropriate behavior on office property is a lapse in judgment that can lead to dismissal.
Enjoy the Food in Moderation. Don’t be the coworker that stands at the buffet heaping food on your plate while everyone else nibbles a few appetizers. You should enjoy the food provided, but don’t take more than your share. Remember that you need to able to chat with coworkers and management, and that is hard when you are busy eating.
Office parties are a fun way to celebrate the holidays. They provide a chance to unwind and enjoy coworkers with no deadlines, projects or customers. Just remember, following the proper rules of etiquette when planning and attending the office Christmas is imperative. Anything less and you may show up at the office with a lot of embarrassment and possibly a pink slip.