Navigating the Holiday Party
Congratulations! You’ve just about made it to the end of another work year. For many businesses, this time of year has the potential to bring with it a week or two to play catch up when employees can find time to reflect on the successes of the year and make decisions on what to tackle in the new year. Depending on the end-of-year budget and your employer, this also might be a time for a holiday work party.
Celebrating the Season
The holiday work party is a great way to celebrate the successes and hard work of the past twelve months and spend time with co-workers in a more relaxed environment. Often these parties also serve as a forum to recognize employees who have gone the extra mile and a way to visit with clients and vendors during the festive season.
Party with Caution
A party is a party, right? Not exactly. Fun and festivity aside, the holiday work party has the potential to become a minefield of oops and regrets if you can’t balance having fun within the work environment. When it’s a work-related party there are different rules to observe. The first thing to remember is that even with a party atmosphere, you’re still technically at work and work rules apply with or without the addition of alcohol.
Secondly, the people attending the party are co-workers and peers and there’s a good chance there will also be higher-level executives, along with vendors and clients present. The people attending the party are colleagues, not necessarily friends. They know you for your skills at work such as your patience in a stressful situation and your hard-working attitude. With just a drink or two inhibitions can easily slide, making it more difficult to remain professional.
Another reason to play it safe is that even in the kindest workplaces, there is always an element of gossip. Those who thrive on gossip are always on the lookout for new stories big or small. Holiday parties play the perfect backdrop for post-event watercooler chat. If you wish to remain on the “nice” list this year, keep these rules in mind at your next holiday work party.
Do limit drinks – depending on your tolerance, one or two drinks at most.
Don’t kiss a coworker under the mistletoe – save this element of holiday celebrating for gathering with close friends.
Don’t dress provocatively – remember this is a work event so the company dress code still applies.
Do introduce yourself to people you don’t know – this can be a great time to meet and network with colleagues you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to speak to.
Do be social but don’t cross normally observed work boundaries – keep the tone light and friendly.
Do keep it professional – don’t air work frustrations at the party, you never know who might overhear your conversation.
Do end with gratitude – at the end of the event, thank the host.