1.Show up and be prepared! An office party is a great opportunity to meet people. . Think about who it is you would like to meet? Your HR Manager? Your Training Manager? It is also a fantastic opportunity to talk with your directors and managers in a casual environment. Remember your Directors have approved this office-party for everyone’s benefit – showing a little gratitude for this goes a long way! If you are naturally rather shy, have a few conversation starters prepared, e.g. “What did you do before working here?” Or “What are your plans for the holidays?”.
- Dress appropriately! Not sure what “festive attire” or “smart casual” means. It is always a good idea to ask your colleagues how they plan to dress – then you can match the tone of your outfit to theirs. Arriving in a suit when everyone is in casuals, or vice verse, can you leave feeling rather embarrassed! Ladies – think beyond this event to the impression you want your colleagues to have of you in the future. Find a balanced compromise between attractive and professional, i.e. avoid too low, too high, too tight, etc.!
- Mingle and mix it up a little! This is an ideal opportunity to network with people you have not yet met and to bolster relationships with those you have. Whilst it may be tempting to only talk to the colleagues you know well – this is your chance to create and cement other work relationships. Be aware of the difference between mingling and ‘office romance’! This is not the time to make your move on someone you fancy. Lastly, avoid office gossip as you mingle – you don’t know who is connected to whom, or who is standing right behind you!
- Stay sober! Getting yourself drunk at an office party has no benefits. Your judgments will become clouded often ending in a situation you will regret the next day. Conversation skills also take a tumble under the influence of alcohol, and your groovy Michael Jackson or sexy Madonna moves can be saved for your own personal parties. If you insist on having a drink – stick to the driving limit. Eat before you drink and ensure you have plenty of water.
- Keep your eye on the time and turn up the next day! You don’t have to be the last to leave the party. Have a time in mind to leave, and stick to it. You could even mention this time to a couple of colleagues as the evening progresses so that they know it will not be a late one for you, e.g. “I need to catch the 10pm train”. If your Office Party is mid-week, ensure that you come into the office as is always expected. The office party is no excuse to be late or to not turn up at all.
Remember that the annual office party is not a right! It is often a costly occasion and is an event that should be appreciated and used for your benefit and not your professional demise! Have fun!