If you are some of the lucky few, holiday parties are still a reason to celebrate at the office this time of year. Typically the first to go when a company encounters financial constraints, office holiday parties are a great way to boost morale and bring co-workers together outside the confines of the office. Although a good excuse to let loose with co-workers after a year of hard work, it is all too easy to fall into the traps unintentionally set by the party planning committee. Free food, open bars and a casual environment have all the makings of a fun Friday night, but an embarrassing Monday. Below, we outline the top 5 traps to avoid at your office holiday celebration.
Trap 1: The Allure of the Open Bar
At the majority of office events, companies use the common social lubricant of alcohol to help get their guests in the party mood. While this may be a great opportunity to try those fancy martinis and/or that top shelf liquor, alcohol has the power to lower inhibitions and alter your judgment. Don’t fall into this trap. Even if you think you can properly handle your alcohol, remember that perceptions can have a big impact on your office reputation. You don’t want to look like you’re constantly in line at the bar or drinking too much. Limit your alcohol intake to a glass of wine or single mixed drink to ensure that your professionalism stays intact.
Trap 2: No “Professional Attire” Dress Code Restriction
“Yes! Finally an opportunity to get out of those boring suits!”
While a cocktail or causal dress code is in effect for most gatherings outside the office, this is not the time to break out your newest mini-skirt of favorite old band t-shirt. If you wouldn’t want your CEO to see you dressed in your outfit, then you should not wear it to the office party. Bright colors, sequins or even festive accessories are great ways to enhance your party outfit, but keep anything revealing, sheer or suggestive at home.
Trap 3: It’s a Party After All
One of the great advantages of an office celebration is the opportunity for employees of all levels to intermingle. Knowing this very important fact, don’t let your guard down! Although you may joke around with your co-workers, the same may not be said in front of your boss. You never know what co-worker or high level executive may be standing behind you as you tell that racy joke. Limit your office talk and foul language. While you are at a causal event, be sure you are not over-sharing personal information or spreading off-color stories. You never know who you could offend or put off.
Trap 4: Invitation Says You Plus a Guest
If you are lucky, you are able to bring a guest to your office party. While a spouse or loved one is an obvious choice, for those without a significant other it is important to truly think about your choice of guest. Not only will this person be meeting important professional contacts, they will also be a direct reflection on you. Invite someone who will behave appropriately. The means swapping out your drinking buddy or unpredictable childhood pal for someone you trust to follow proper social etiquette.