Holiday Office Party Etiquette

Holiday parties are supposed to be lots of fun, things to look forward to and really enjoy. Strange then that many of us dread the annual office holiday party. That is often because you hear so many horror stories about people who practically ruined their careers because they had a little too much to drink at their office holiday party or missed their one chance to schmooze with the big boss who only visits a couple of times a year because they were too afraid to cross the room and introduce themselves.

Office holiday parties do not have to be so stressful though. All you need to do is follow some basic office party etiquette rules. Here are some of the basics:

Decode the Holiday Party Dress Code – If you have worked for the same company for years the chances are that you probably know what is and is not acceptable when it comes to holiday party attire but if this your first time attending a company function at the holidays then this might be a bit of a concern for you.

Some firms are nice enough to spell out a dress code on the invitation but that is not often the case. You can pick up a lot of clues from the party venue though. If the annual bash is being held at a local casual dining restaurant then it is highly unlikely that formal cocktail gowns for the ladies and black tie for the gents are called for.

Wherever the party is being held use some common sense with your dress for the evening. This is not a night out with your friends at a club it is a night out with colleagues so leave the club wear in the closet and go for understated elegance. And guys please, ditch the sneakers and wear some proper shoes!

Everything in Moderation РMost employers do actually expect their employees to enjoy the holiday party so it is very likely that there will be drinking, dancing and even singing. The key is to do everything in moderation. After the first drink or two play it safe and switch to soft drinks. If you do hit the dance floor keep your dance moves PG and save the more risqu̩ stuff for the next time you are out with your friends.

Do Not Engage in Gossip – However juicy the tidbit you think you have discovered do not involve yourself in gossip, during or after the party. If you do it will usually come back to haunt you and not in a good way at all.

Do Introduce Yourself to the Higher Ups – At some companies holiday parties and other formal occasions may be the only chance employees get to mingle with the real higher ups. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going ahead and introducing yourself if you get the chance. Just make sure that you let them lead the conversation and you do not spend all of your time with them boasting about your achievements (however much you may want to.)

Respect Your Colleagues Privacy – The printed photograph is almost completely a thing of the past and these days people are very used to posting all kinds of pictures online, especially on their social networking profiles. However when it comes to taking photos at your office holiday party you need to remember to respect other people’s privacy.

Some companies are going as far as banning cameras and picture phones at their holiday gatherings altogether to prevent problems but even if yours does not ask before you take a picture and then ask again before you post it to Facebook.

Yes, You Have to Go – Unless you have a very good reason for not attending you must attend your office holiday party. Your employers have taken the time to organize it and to skip out simply because you do not feel like going will probably be seen as a sign of disrespect.

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