The do’s and don’ts of Christmas office parties

It’s been the talk of the office for weeks now. You’ve received e-mail after e-mail reminding you to RSVP, asked what you’ll be wearing, and the 20-something office party animal has been cracking bad jokes whenever the subject comes up. It’s the annual office Christmas party – and this year you’re going to enjoy yourself.

Going out for dinner and drinks with your workmates is different to going out with your circle of friends, but you already knew that. And while offices may vary dramatically, given that the cast of characters is different to each, there are some universal do’s and don’ts that are valuable if you want to make the most of your night and avoid becoming watercooler chat the next week

1 RSVP

Even if you can’t make it this year, or simply don’t fancy it, it’s always a good idea to let the party organisers know your intent. Don’t be the person that leaves it until the last second either.

2 Don’t bring a plus one

Unless your invitation states otherwise, it’s better to assume that the party is for employees only. You don’t want to have your significant other feeling left out or like a spare tyre in a room full of people they’re only slightly familiar with.

3 Keep an eye on dress policy

A lot of office parties are quite relaxed with regards to what you’ll wear to the event. Sometimes it’s even encouraged that you bring your Santa hat. But in some corporate settings, particularly in larger firms, it’s probably best that you leave your all-singing, all-dancing festive tie at home for this one. Unless it’s so funny that it’s a hill you’re willing to die on.

4 Arrive on time and leave on time

Again, this isn’t the same as a night out with your regular friends. Your co-workers won’t say “Ah, so-and-so, always fashionably late!” and have a great big laugh. You may even be cutting into dinner and drinking time, which is a cardinal sin in some places.

5 Greet everyone, speak to everyone

This one will vary depending on how big or small your place of work is, sometimes it’s just not viable to greet everyone and speak to everyone if you’re from a large enough company. But do make an effort to say hello to the people you know and catch-up with them. Yes, even that one.

6 Avoid the goss

This might be the most difficult of all. Office gossip is like a giant elephant in the room in some companies, but please remember, this is a time for camaraderie and good-natured celebration. Some office gossip may even constitute as bullying, and there should be no place for that anywhere.

7 Leave the shop talk

Another one that will vary from office to office. As a rule of thumb though, just assume that your co-workers are here to eat, drink, be merry, and maybe even belt out a tune on the karaoke machine. But leave the work-talk for the office. This is a chance for you to get to know your co-workers better, and they very likely have a lot more going on in their lives than administration.

8 Don’t overindulge

This one is self-explanatory.

9 Say ‘thank you’

Make sure to thank the party organisers for all of the work they put into putting on the party for you and the other guests. It can be a hard job putting these things together and deciding on a date that suits everyone, so give them a little thanks, and maybe even a gift from everyone.

10 Don’t call in sick

If you’ve work the next day or the following Monday, it’s probably not a good look if you call in “sick” (unless of course, you’re genuinely sick). Avoid the temptation and stride into that office, confident that you made a great impression on the night and all of your co-workers have an unshakable respect for you. But if you are suffering somewhat, at least you know someone that keeps paracetamol on their desk for just the occasion.

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