Holiday Work Party Etiquette: Be Memorable for the Right Reasons

Holiday Work Party Etiquette: Be Memorable for the Right Reasons
(CSA Images/Getty Images)
Bill Lindsey
The holiday season means that you’re going to have to mingle with folks with whom you already spend a lot of time working. But luckily, a plan and a positive attitude will make it a fun affair.

Take It for What It Is

An office or work party is a must-attend for several reasons; you get to mingle with coworkers you might not often see otherwise, and you just might make some new friends, or at least solidify good relationships. Because it is a work event, your presence is expected just as it would be for a mandatory workplace meeting. Arrive on time and don’t sneak out early. Don’t bring the kids, and unless the invitation allows a plus one, don’t bring one of those, either.

Behave Graciously

Be aware that you are being watched and judged by coworkers and by the boss. What you do and say will be remembered, so make sure it’s all good. Make any guests feel welcome by chatting with them. Seek out the bosses to thank them for hosting the event, but under no circumstances should you steer the conversation to work topics. If you feel the urge to hop on a table and belt out “Tomorrow,” lock yourself in a closet until it passes.

Moderation Matters

Overindulging is never a good idea, especially when it involves spiked eggnog or any other adult beverage at a work party. If the boss is urging everyone to drain their glasses, make sure yours is filled with soda water or ginger ale. This advice also applies to the buffet. Don’t pile food on your plate like you haven’t eaten in three days, and don’t go back for seconds until everyone else has been through the first time.

Make Small Talk

You know to avoid work-related topics, so what can you discuss? Politics and religion are off the list, but it’s OK to comment—nicely—on a coworker’s outfit (not everyone realizes the goal isn’t being memorable for what you wear to the party). Being a good listener will win more points than if you monopolize the conversation, so leave your ego at the coat check and let others talk about themselves. Hobbies, children, and pets are good conversation starters with shy coworkers.

Dress Up!

When choosing what to wear, go up one notch in “dressiness,” but resist the urge to arrive in clubwear, even if you look amazing in it. Flair is good, but too much flesh is bad. If no dress code is provided, guys can wear a sports coat and tie, and ladies a dress, using the 8 1/2 by 11 test to make sure it’s not overly short (while sitting, place a piece of copy paper on your lap; if it covers more skin than the dress does, ditch that dress).
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
Related Topics