The holiday season is a beautiful time of year. One of the benefits of the holiday parties are all the social invites that you receive. What do you do when one of those invites is from your boss?
Managers, supervisors, and business owners all over the world choose to throw a holiday office party for their employees. So how exactly are you supposed to act? Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a short list of some tips that you can use to make it through your party. Your boss has undoubtedly rented out a restaurant/bar, hall, and is paying for everything. They want you to have a good time, and they want you to indulge. They just don’t want you to do it at the expense of the company’s reputation. Understanding that there is a fine line between office and party could help you make it out of the office holiday party unscathed.
You’ve received and accepted the invite to your office holiday party by now, and the invite says “cocktail party attire,” or “no dress code.” You know that you’ve purchased a sleek, little black dress and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to wear it. As a general rule of thumb, a black dress consists of the classic elegance that you would want to wear to a holiday party, just as long as you’re following along with the unspoken rules. You are, after all, at a party with your coworkers.
- Keep to classic skin-toned or black stockings, and leave the fishnets at home.
- Take a seat and place a piece of paper in your lap. If the paper is covering more of your skin than the dress, your dress is probably too short.
- Sequins, sparkles, and high-heels are fine.
As a guy, the appropriate attire might come a bit easier for you. You should probably dress one step above what you think the invitation dress code means. For example, if the invitation says no dress code, it’s probably okay for you to wear jeans. Though, you can always make sure that your bases are covered by pairing it with a nice button-up and bringing along a tie. If you notice you’re the only one wearing a tie, you can just take it off.
Your spouse or partner may not work for your company directly, but how they dress does impact you. It’s essential that your spouse understands that you’re going to be surrounded by people that you work with, and they need to dress appropriately. Suggest that your spouse or date dresses to suit whatever dress code you’re trying to meet.
Showcase Your Manners
Your boss is probably going to get surrounded by a lot of people who are vying to get his or her attention during a holiday party, and that’s normal. In most cases, your boss isn’t expecting you to spend the evening praising his or her work setting up the party, but you should always show your gratitude to the host. Take a few moments to introduce your spouse or date to your boss, and thank them for the evening. If you want to make it more personal, you can pick out a dish that you favored and tell your boss just how much you liked it.
Cornering your boss at an office holiday function, however, could show as being in poor taste or even brown-nosing. If your boss asks you a question about your life or also a work-related question, then don’t ignore it. Answer graciously, but understand that many people are going to want to speak to them. If you are keeping their attention on yourself, you could receive unexpected resentment from your colleagues.
During these parties, mingling with the attendees helps you to converse with colleagues that you know well, and helps you to get to know some from other departments. Keep your conversations light, and don’t spend overly too much time speaking to one person in particular since you don’t want to leave anyone out. Show your interest in your co-workers by asking them friendly, but not invasive questions to both them and their spouse or date.
When it comes to your colleague’s spouse, you have probably heard so much about them that you feel like you know them. Your office holiday party is a fantastic opportunity to get to know them. You can introduce them to your spouse, and talk about similar familial interests that you have. The best part of this is now when your co-worker speaks about their spouse; you’ll be able to picture the situation.
Other ways to show your manners:
- Thank your boss’s assistant for the amount of work that they do.
- Bring a host/hostess gift if the party gets held at your boss or colleague’s home.
- Mingle and be friendly.
- Offer help.
Minimize Drinking, Even if Others Aren’t
During the holiday season, food and drink seem to be an endless supply. During your office holiday party, this is probably even truer. You are likely going to have a buffet and unlimited drink options, but it’s vital that you don’t overindulge. Your boss is going to want you to be yourself, and have a great time, but ultimately you are going to be around associates. The appropriate thing to do is nurse your drink and indulge in snacks, and polite conversation.
It’s no secret that alcohol can diminish your senses. By watching how much you and your date are drinking, you could eliminate the chance of possible embarrassment. There is always going to be office politics and gossip. The last thing that you want is for you, or your spouse to be the topic of conversation at lunchtime because you got a little too tipsy.
Holiday office parties are set up as a way to thank employees for the work that they’ve done during the past year. If you aren’t sure of just how you should act, you could always ask. It’s crucial that you understand that not everyone in the room celebrates Christmas, therefore saying “Happy Holidays!” is the more politically correct version.
Parties are not off limits. How you act during an office event is undoubtedly going to spread throughout the office if you acted negatively. Your business reputation could be on the line if you spend the entire time causing a scene. Let yourself have fun, but remember that your office party is a get together with colleagues. Professionalism is still key. Do you have any other tips?