‘Tis the season to celebrate and it is likely you will be invited to an office party for the holidays. Whether it is an intimate affair at the home of your boss or a colleague or a large event at a function venue, remember, it is a business function. You can use these events to advance and support your career or you can cause significant damage. Be mindful of how you behave at your holiday functions.
Attire – While it is a party and dressing up a bit is expected, leave anything too revealing or suggestive at home. Don’t show more than you’d show at the office – these are people you have to work with. Keep the neckline on the high side and the hemline on the lower side.
Drinking – Resist the urge to over-indulge. Nothing good can come out of it. You don’t want to attract attention to negative behavior or say something you will regret later. Stick to soft drinks and play it safe completely or seriously limit your consumption.
Flirting – Do NOT flirt with co-workers and especially not with your boss or your boss’ spouse.
Photos – Do not take photos that could be incriminating to others and do not pose for any photos that could be used against you.
Social Media – Don’t make comments on Facebook or other sites about the event that you wouldn’t want your boss or your co-workers to see.
Attending the office holiday functions can be good for your career if you do it correctly.
Networking Opportunity – Holiday functions provide a great networking opportunity. You should try to meet as many people as possible that you do not interact with on a daily basis. Ask what they do and how long they have been with the company. This is a valuable opportunity to meet interesting people and extend your network.
Be Visible and Engaged — Definitely don’t hide in the corner. Take advantage of the event to mingle as much as possible. You should talk to people you meet in line for the bar, waiting for the restroom, whatever. You have something in common by being there, so start a conversation. You may be surprised by who you meet and what you learn.
Keep the Focus on Business — While it is easier to meet people in a more casual environment, remember it is still a professional event. You have to work with these people on Monday morning. Don’t stand out in a negative way or behave in a way that will be the talk of the office on Monday. Remember you should never speak poorly of the company or your manager. It is fine to ask people about their holiday plans but don’t ask overly personal questions and avoid controversial topics such as politics and religion. Sports can be an easy topic to get the conversation going.
While it can be fun to socialize with colleagues and celebrate the holidays, it is still a professional event. Be on your best behavior to avoid regrets on Monday morning. It is a valuable opportunity to meet other colleagues outside your daily interactions and to meet the interesting spouses and significant others of your colleagues. Networking is great – just don’t try looking for a new job while attending your company party!!!