6 Etiquette Tips for Your Office Party

You’ve undoubtedly heard a story about an epic office party fail. Maybe a former employee drank too much and bad-mouthed the CEO. Or a coworker spread unflattering gossip about a colleague. Whatever it was, you know you don’t want to be the topic of the next infamous office party story.

To avoid embarrassment — or worse, termination — because of an office party mistake, follow these six office party etiquette tips:  


1. Drink in moderation – According to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 80 percent of companies surveyed said that drinking alcohol at a holiday office party is acceptable. What’s not acceptable is overconsumption.

Drinking too much at the office party could not only ruin your reputation … it could land you in the unemployment line. Know your limits and watch how much you drink.


2. Dress appropriately – Though it is a party, you don’t need to dress like you’re going to the club with your friends. A basic rule to follow is, if you wouldn’t wear it to the office, don’t wear it to the office party.


3. Mingle beyond your clique – The office can feel like high school at times. You eat lunch with the same people. You take breaks with the same people. Basically, you have a set group of work friends. During your office’s holiday, move beyond your work clique and mingle with coworkers you’ve had limited interactions with. An office party can turn into a great networking event.


4. Pay attention to time – At any other party, it’s OK to be fashionably late. But showing up to your office’s party two hours late could rub some people the wrong way. Try to show up within the first hour of the party.

Similarly, be careful not to leave too early. Spending your precious free time with people you see for eight hours every day may seem like pulling teeth, but if you’re only there for 30 minutes, the higher-ups won’t see you as a team player. 


5. Send the right nonverbal signals – Crossed arms, eye rolls, excessive yawning — sometimes, body language speaks louder than words. Even if your office’s holiday party is about as exciting as watching grass grow, be careful not to show your boredom with your body language. Be aware of your body language and send the right signals. 


6. Give due credit – Someone in your office spent his or her extra time planning your office’s holiday party, so make sure to thank the person for a wonderful time before you leave.


Surviving your office holiday party is easy — you just need to know what to avoid. By following these steps, you’ll ensure that you don’t become the subject of an office-party-gone-bad story.

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