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Rules to survive the office Christmas party

Sheena Mayers, Industrial Relations

Rules to survive the office Christmas party

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The holiday season is in full swing, and in the midst of gift hunting and house decorating, there are festivities, and for some, this includes the office Christmas party. The key word here is office. Sometimes people just need a gentle reminder about how to appropriately mix business with pleasure.
This is particularly the case if you’re a new employee or a manager trying to put your best face forward at a holiday office party. The office party may be a fun and relaxed occasion, however, they are some rules you should follow to ensure that your reputation and career are enhanced and not damaged after the event.
Dress – If there is a dress code, then you should stick to it. In the event that a dress code isn’t stated, the time of day and location provide clues on how you should dress. Even though the event is scheduled outside of regular work hours, it is a work event. As such, ensure that while paying attention to the latest styles, you also consider if it is appropriate. Ladies should not be revealing; this is not the event for lots of cleavage and men should not be overly flashy; no shiny suits.
Alcohol – While there may be an open bar, it is still a company event. This means that you should remain sober and never over indulge. Being intoxicated is the surest way to be the topic of gossip for the next few weeks, and to give the organizational leaders a negative impression of you.
Conversation – Don’t stand in the corner texting, try to engage with your co-workers. When mingling, be careful not to launch into a monologue. Ensure that you allow persons to participate in the conversation and try to chat with people from a different department or location.
No whispering/gossip – Don’t partake in gossip, it will come back to haunt you. If it isn’t something you would say in the office on a regular day then you shouldn’t say it at the party.
Food – Our parents always said that you should eat before leaving home. This is good advice to follow for two purposes. Firstly you are not sure what time food will be served and should it be delayed, you will be fine.
Additionally, should you have a drink on arrival, prior to eating, it will not be on an empty stomach.
Attendance – Unless you have a legitimate reason for absence you should attend. The company is having a celebration recognizing employees and your absence or refusal to attend will be noted.
Additionally, don’t show up late and then try to sneak out. That will give the impression that you never wanted to attend. View it as an opportunity, you may have good conversation with the person who may interview you in six months or engage with a co-worker who could be of assistance in the future.
Dance – Sing and dance in moderation and additionally, keep it PG13. When thinking about your behaviour, consider if it is a picture you would want on Facebook or in the company newsletter? Would you be ashamed to show your children? If you would be ashamed don’t do it!
Guests – You should only bring a guest if the invitation allows. If the event is staff only, don’t assume that you can bring your spouse just because they are well-known throughout the office.
Always remember that you will be surrounded by co-workers, managers, maybe even the board of management; these are not your school friends. The key is to participate in the activities, have fun, be prepared for small talk and converse with people  outside of your regular circle.
This can be done while maintaining your reputation and enhancing your network.