To ensure that you’re not afraid to face your co-workers the next day, here are a few office party etiquette tips to keep in mind:
Do accept the invitation
The first piece of advice when it comes to holiday office parties is this: Go! Your absence will be noticed!
Know what to wear
It can be tough to strike the right balance between festive and appropriate when it comes to what to wear to the office party, however, the time, location and details on the invitation will give you a sense of what to wear.
For example: If your boss is hosting an “Ugly Sweater Party,” then the answer to that question is pretty simple. But, if your company is hosting an evening party at a local hotel or restaurant, formal attire is more appropriate. And ladies, this is not the time to show off your cleavage. Keep it simple and classy. Whatever you choose to wear will reflect on you professionally. When in doubt, ask your host or hostess about the event’s dress code.
So that you’re not spending all your time at the snack table, my advice is to have a light snack before the party. This is also helpful if you plan on drinking at the party. When at the party, use common sense when it comes to filling (or over-filling your plate) — the hors d’oevre plate will give you an indication of how much to eat. You’re there for business, not for the food.
If you drink alcohol at the party, know your limits. Or set yourself a cap of just one drink for the evening and then switch to a non-alcoholic drink. I always tell people this, “Drink half as much, and you’ll have twice as much fun.” Remember, you’re at a work function and even a small amount of alcohol can loosen your inhibitions and lead you to do things you may regret the next day. Make sure you have planned how you are getting home after the event if you have a drink or two; like pre-arranging for a cab or your local ride-sharing company. If your employer is large enough, they may even allow you to expense your fare.
This is a good time to get to know people you don’t work with on a daily basis, so mingle. Avoid excessive “work” talk and keep conversations friendly and upbeat. Have a few topics up your sleeve – and avoid politics and religion, as a rule. Remember to not indulge in office ‘gossip’.
Pause before you post
Remember those days when “what happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas”? We all know that THAT isn’t true any longer! Cell phones allow us to post anything, anytime, anywhere. Before you post any photos from the holiday party, pause and ask yourself “Would this photo pass the CEO test?” If your employer has a social media policy, make sure you are aware of it. This is sometimes the case if you work for the public sector like the Federal Government. If the photo isn’t one that the CEO of your company would find appropriate, it’s probably not a good idea to share it with the world. Pause before you post to Facebook!
Show your thanks
Within 24 hours of the party, send out a handwritten thank you note to your employer – and also to anyone who helped organize the celebration.