Office party etiquette

With the holiday season fast approaching many people will start thinking about the office party. Whilst most people look forward to their office party it is an occasion that many people dread. The Office party is a time to kick back, relax and spend some quality time with your work colleagues out of the office environment however you do need to be careful.

The office party is meant to be fun and you are meant to enjoy yourself however there are some ground rules you must stick to, and specific things you should not do. So, what things must we not do to ensure the office party is successful?

Drink too much alcohol

As we all know, when we drink too much alcohol we lose all our inhibitions, self control and do things we wouldn’t normally do. If we get a bit tipsy we can get loud, brash and embarrass not only ourselves but also those around us. Take the alcohol too far and we can become an absolute mess, especially if we get to the stage of vomiting and passing out.  

When at the office party we should never drink more than we can comfortably handle. Different people have different tolerances to alcohol, which means some people can drink more than others and still be coherent. When drinking at the office party you should never try and match any of your work colleagues drink for drink. If you start to feel like you have had enough take time out and have some soft drinks until the effects of the alcohol wears off a little.

Efes is a Turkish made pilsner that is light, refreshing and very tasty. Just remember though, if you are drinking this at your office party don't drink too much.

Tow bottles of Effes Turkish pilsnerCredit: yackers1

One method of ensuring you don’t drink too much alcohol at the office party is to make every other drink an alcoholic drink. O, have a pint of beer or glass of wine followed by a coca cola followed by another wine or beer followed by a coca cola and so on. Alternating drinks in this way will help to ensure you don’t get too drunk too quickly.

Many people find the effects of drinking alcohol are more apparent and happen quicker when drinking on an empty stomach. So, before you go to the office party make sure you eat something to line your stomach and minimise the effects of drinking alcohol. Even if there is going to be food and nibbles at the office party make sure you eat something before you go. If you can’t manage to eat before you go to the office party hold off drinking alcohol until after the food is served.

Flirt or try to pair up with a work colleague

At the office party you should never, ever, flirt with a work colleague or try and pair up with a work colleague. It doesn’t matter whether you have always had your eye on the purchase ledger girl or the post boy or even the boss, the office party is not the time to express your feelings, although many people make the mistake of doing this.

The office party provides the ideal opportunity to socialize with work colleagues, have a drink with work colleagues and talk to work colleagues outside of the office but these are no excuses to try and pair up with a work colleague. It doesn’t matter if you make the first move or your work colleagues makes the first move, it doesn’t matter whether you are both drunk and it doesn’t matter that the DJ is playing a love song, don’t do it.

If you are a naturally flirty person you need to take extra care since what you consider to be harmless banter and a bit of a laugh another person may consider sexual harassment and launch an official complaint to HR. A sexual harassment complaint against you is going to affect your career not only in your current job, but any other job you apply for in the future so you need to make sure you stick within the boundaries and don’t take things too far.

Speak before we think

When at the office party you need to watch your mouth and think before you speak. Try and avoid controversial and emotive subjects as conversations on these topics can get out of hand and cause ill feeling, which is likely to ruin the evening. If one of your work colleagues says something controversial put your point across, and leave it there. If you get challenged or confronted don’t retaliate and try to change the subject. You need to be ensure you are not discriminatory in any way shape or form so no racist comments, no sexist comments, no ageist comments etc. etc.

At the office party you must ensure you do not swear or use any profanities. Swearing may be acceptable in your particular department or around your immediate work colleagues, but you have to remember the office party involves the whole company and some people may get offended by foul language.

Dance erotically

It may be ok for a bit of dirty dancing at your local night club or disco but it is not acceptable at the office party. Some people may find your gyrating funny and humorous to watch, others may find your gyrating cringe worthy and others may find it offensive. It is worth remembering that you spend more time at work than at home and you will see your work colleagues almost every day so it is important you don’t offend any of them.

Dancing after a few drinks often turns in to a bit of a gyrating session, especially for the clubbers, but you have to make sure you never do this at the office party.

In conclusion....

The office party is an occasion where you can let your hair down and have some fun, but you still need to have some self control. The office party has become every HR manager’s nightmare, especially where the workforce is diverse. There are many people who break all the rules and end up getting very drunk, trying to pair up with many different people, engage in conversation about controversial topics, swear like a trooper and make discriminatory comments. You have to make sure that you are not one of them.

So, to make sure you have fun at the office party and are not the future subject of office gossip you need to;

  1. Make sure you don’t drink too much
  2. Make sure you don’t flirt or try and pair up with a work colleague
  3. Make sure you think before you speak and watch your language; and
  4. Make sure you keep the dancing family friendly