If you’re lucky enough to attend a company Christmas party this year, there are a few simple rules all employees should follow. Some of these tips should go without saying — but you’d be surprised to see how common sense disappears the moment someone steps through the wreath-covered door.
If your company is doing well enough to throw a soiree in appreciation of a year’s worth of hard work, read these seven holiday party pointers before letting loose:
Don’t drink too much
There’s nothing wrong with sipping a cocktail or two as you mingle with your co-workers, but if you’re using alcohol to “take the edge off,” you’re probably going to drink too much. Even among friends, over-serving yourself could lead to embarrassing moments you don’t want to relive the next day.
Along the same lines, don’t bring in your own booze and swig it in the restroom. Some parties include beer and wine only for a reason. There’s a difference between enjoying a glass of wine and taking shots out of a flask.
The holidays can be especially challenging for those struggling with alcoholism and substance use disorders. Celebrating with family, friends and coworkers can make people with addictions feel more vulnerable and alone than ever, so tips for avoiding holiday relapse can be found here.
Don’t be cliquey
It’s natural to want to share holiday cheer with your favorite people in the company. Try to mingle with less social colleagues and talk to their spouses, too. If dinner is served at the party, and there isn’t assigned seating at dinner, take the opportunity to sit next to someone you wouldn’t normally socialize with.
Don’t be too friendly with the boss
By this I mean, be polite to the host, but don’t monopolize their time, especially if it’s a larger company. An “overly friendly or aggressive approach will have people backing away from you,” says image consultant Dianne Daniels, in a Monster article about navigating company events. She advises: “Take the opportunity to be seen and say hello, but don’t chase executives or higher-ups around the venue trying to impress them.”
Don’t be too friendly with colleagues
Telling a woman she looks sexy or hot or any of those adjectives that one might use at a nightclub is not a compliment. Ladies, don’t harass the men either. Parties can be an HR nightmare and might result in no party next year or worse: firing.
Managers (especially your human resources department) walk on eggshells anticipating the next employee investigation, sexual harassment claim, or termination that comes with the annual office gathering.
Don’t overshare or swear
Intimate settings can lend to the feeling that it’s okay to complain, joke around, or gossip about coworkers. Look at the party like the professional business gathering it is. Make sure your spouse or date minds his or her manners as well. A quick conversation prior to the party may be warranted. For example, I’ve seen a husband gather a small group around him to announce how big his wife’s bonus was that year. A faux pas like this can do serious damage to your reputation.
Don’t fall into the Christmas tree
Believe it or not, this happens. A group gathering in front of the tree for a photo opportunity could lead to a total tree take-down. It may be hilarious to witness, but… yikes!
Don’t drink and drive
This should go without saying, but don’t drink and drive. Take an Uber, Lyft, or taxi, – ride with a sober driver – or whatever mode of transportation is going to get you home safely. There plenty of stories about how to behave at holiday parties, but some of them fail to mention this important point.
Bosses consider relationships the secret sauce – or the heart of an engaged workplace – and recognition plays a big part in deepening employee relationships. As the year comes to a close, you’ll want to make a good impression on your boss. Leave the party with your dignity intact — as well as your job! Have fun, but be smart.