It’s that time of year again when the awaited mass email gets sent around the office regarding the works Christmas party. This gives employees the chance to chill out and unwind and receive a free dinner and drinks courtesy of the boss. This is also the time when some people take advantage of the company credit card and get a little over excited. Alcohol isn’t to blame for all the naughty behaviour that occurs at the office party, but it can have a large part to play.
While the Christmas party can be a worrying time for both employer and employee, it is an event where you can still behave professionally and have fun, and provides a great opportunity to socialise with people whom you don’t have the chance to with at work. Before you accept the invitation, here are some things to be aware of to avoid any embarrassing mishaps:
Once you know where the office party is being held, you can plan the appropriate outfit. You may only go out once in a blue moon, but this is not the time to dig out the sequin number that should be exclusive to those seen on strictly come dancing – and even then, it’s risky! For the men, check to see if the restaurant / bar requires smart shoes to be worn. And ladies, be sure to wear something that doesn’t reveal too much to your boss and existing co-workers.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
If you only remember one thing from this article, it needs to be this. You are at a work event and office etiquette and manners still apply. You are not out with your friend Dave drinking snake bites and ordering rounds of jaeger bombs. The boss may be treating their employees to a complimentary beverage or four, but remember you are being watched by your superiors and your actions are accountable.
Avoid office gossip
You may be outside of the office walls, but the people you are conversing with at the bar or in the toilet cubicle are still your work colleagues. Don’t fall into the trap of office gossip as this won’t have a good return on the way you are perceived especially when alcohol is involved. If you find yourself in this situation, then excuse yourself quickly and politely.
The office party provides the perfect opportunity for you to network with those in different departments as well as speak with senior management on a more casual level. Use this time to get to know people and ask questions. Try to keep work talk to a minimum and have some prepared questions to hand. If you see someone standing alone or looking uncomfortable, especially if they are new, introduce them to those close to you and get them involved with the conversations.
Many people attend the Christmas party and disappear at the end of the evening without a goodbye or a thank you to those who organised and funded the event. Make it a priority to say goodbye to your boss, even if you didn’t talk to them throughout the evening. This will show a lot about your character and expresses your appreciation for the lovely time that you have had.
Keep in mind that you have to face these people at work the next day, so ensure your behaviour is up to scratch and that you continue to make the same impression that you strive to achieve at work. Don’t let the above put you off attending – by skipping out on such an occasion can highlight your commitment to the company and be worse for you.