Holiday Office Party Rules to Abide By

|Dec 2|magazine11 min read
The office holiday party is not the time to put on your Saturday Night Fever outfit, test your drinking limits and get Julie from Accounting’s phone number. The office holiday party is a time to enjoy a few laughs with the team, reflect on a productive year and connect with coworkers on a personal level.

Every environment is different and each company makes its own rules. It’s up to you to intuitively figure out what is appropriate and what will have you in front of the HR Director. That said, there are baseline rules to follow such as drink wisely and keep conversations professional.

Ultimately, you don’t want to be hoping for a new job underneath the Christmas tree. You do want to build beneficial professional relationships.
Follow these dos and don’ts, and be a good boy or girl at the office holiday party.

Party Time: It is a career killer to miss out on the staff Christmas party. Do put aside your gripes about your colleagues and try and get into the spirit of things. Act as though your behavior is being observed every minute.

Limit Exposure: The holiday office party is still work, which means less is more. Don’t walk into an office party halfway after through and don’t leave a Christmas party too early. However, don't overstay by partying until the keg is done.

Look the Part: The party is still a company function, so proper etiquette and decorum is a must. This applies to language, attire and general actions. Do follow the dress code. Ask if needed. It’s always better to be overdressed then underdressed. Do leave the club shirt in the closet.

Say What: Do keep conversations positive and don't complain, whine or ridicule. Don’t discuss controversial subjects such as religion, politics and sex. Also, don't spend all evening talking shop. Wasn’t 8 hours enough? And remember, tis the season of giving. Do show interest in others and be gracious and thank coworkers for all their contributions.

Drink and be Merry: Do have one alcoholic drink and then one bottle of water, soft drink or juice. In addition, make sure you have a meal first before you start drinking. Moderation is key. Do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening. Smile and monitor your breath.

Food for Thought: Much like the booze, regulate your intake. That paycheck might be slim, but don’t ease the grocery bill by busting out the zip-lock bags at the buffet line.

Plus One: This means a husband, wife or a long term girlfriend or boyfriend. Don’t consider the office Christmas party to be a first date venue. Furthermore, spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties. Don't bring an inappropriate person as your guest, such as a therapist or escort.

Mistletoe Manners: If you are rolling solo, do keep your hands to yourself. Don't flirt, and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior. Sexual harassment rules still apply at the office Christmas party. Remember, you have to go to work the next day.

Skilled Schmoozing: This is a chance to speak to the decision makers of your company in an informal setting. Sidle up the boss and make an impression (a good impression). Network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships.

Holiday Wrapping: Thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. Do consider sending a thank-you note to top management for hosting the party. The office party is a reward, so enjoy what could be the bonus you may get from the company.

Safe Sleighing: Don’t end up in the newspaper the next day for an alcohol-related mishap. The authorities will connect the dots and figure out you attend the company sponsored office party. Do know how you are getting home before you start drinking. Grab a taxi voucher, arrange to sleep over a colleague’s place or catch the TTC home. Do appoint a designated driver. Don't drink and drive.

Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed: A sick day after the work party or turning up late after the Christmas party is a major faux paux. If your bosses can make it on time, then so should you. Plus, chances are a select few will have an office pool on who won’t show.