Office Party Etiquette | Manners & Etiquette

Hooray!  It’s time for the holiday office party!

Although we want to let loose and celebrate, it is often not a good idea to do so at a work party. In today’s volatile economy, it is all the more important to remember that even after hours, our behavior can reflect either well or badly on us and alter our higher-ups’ opinions of us for the better…or worse.

Quick Rules for Office Holiday Party Etiquette

  • Arrive on time and don’t linger past the end time.
  • Is your spouse invited? Sometimes the office party is held just for the employees. Don’t bring an uninvited guest. Check in advance to avoid embarrassment.
  • Dress appropriately. This is not the time for the lowest-cut gown in your closet or to dress like you’re going to a nightclub. Nothing too short or revealing, please. Check the dress code in advance.
  • Don’t skip the holiday party, it can be important for your career and your absence can negatively affect it.
  • Remember your manners at the buffet. Don’t be a piggie and load up your plate. You can always go back for seconds. And no double dipping!
  • Drink, but do it in moderation. There is nothing worse than your drunk co-worker shouting out your office secrets across the table.
  • If there is an activity planned, participate. It shows you are a team player.
  • Goodness gracious, don’t do anything that will make you the topic of next year’s “remember when…”
  • Be sure to speak to people other than those with whom you directly work. It’s a lot more fun to mingle and talk to people you don’t see all the time.  This may also be the only time of year you see the Company President or CEO. Introduce yourself, shake hands, and wish them a happy holiday.
  • It might be a good move to talk with those who can influence your career. But keep the conversation light, and not about business.
  • In general,don’t talk about business or yourself and your accomplishments, or monopolize the conversation or you’ll be considered a bore.
  • Don’t assume that everyone celebrates the same holiday you do. Be considerate of their faiths, beliefs and customs.
  • Go in on the group gift for the boss, if you are asked. No gag gifts, please!!!
  • Speaking of gifts, the company party is not the time to give your favorite co-workers their gifts. Do that in private.
  • Sometimes toasts are given to celebrate an event or an honor. If the toast is for you, accept it graciously and don’t drink to yourself. Toast back to the person who recognized you, recognizing him or her.
  • Don’t flirt, kiss or grab your co-workers, or do anything you wouldn’t do at the office. This is a work event.
  • Most importantly, act like you’re having fun.  A lot of people went through a lot of trouble to throw this festive event, and they don’t have to do it. It is meant to be a present for the employees. Be gracious.
  • As you leave, be sure to thank your host for a lovely evening.
  • Send a thank you note to the party’s hosts, and that can include the party’s planner as well as the one footing the bill. Yes, we do this even at work.

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