Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Office Party Etiquette – Guest Post!

Written by Patti on November 29th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

No one likes to discuss parties and etiquette as much as I do, but it’s fun to get a fresh perspective now and again.

Rachel Book is a part-time researcher and analyst for an online retaile of real Christmas trees. She’s looking forward to their annual Christmas party and even has an outfit ready for the occasion!

Take it away, Rachel!

Essential Office Christmas Party Etiquette

The holiday season brings out the carefree spirit in everyone, but watch out; behind the seemingly festive atmosphere are eyes that watch your every move. Dare to mix business with pleasure? Don’t even think about it.

Socializing is an important part of any civilized culture. At office gatherings, it’s imperative to keep au courant on what is acceptable and what is not. After all, work parties are usually held in the office, where managers, supervisors, and colleagues are observing each other’s actions.

Should you just skip the festivities and remain in your cold cubicle instead? No. Office socials might be your ticket to that salary raise or promotion, so use this opportunity to mingle and show them what a rock star you are during and after work. Before you get ready to par-tay, here are some etiquette tips to help you fit into the social scene.

DO: Dress appropriately for the occasion.
You want people to notice what you wear because you look stunning in it, not because of the fashion gaffe you are making. Ask beforehand if the event is formal or casual. Where is it going to be? Even if your company does not explicitly state the attire, the venue alone can clue you into what to wear.

An office party is still a business affair, so it is important to keep things conservative. Understated attire is better than a mesh-sequin tank top and leather shorts.

Attire for women:
dress pants or knee-length skirt paired with a simple top
sheath dress that grazes the knee
good shoes and classic jewelry

Attire for men:
formal trousers in a dark shade paired with a collared shirt
dress shoes

Ties are optional, but bring one with you in case you need to spruce up your attire.
For casual events, both men and women can opt for a pair of jeans or casual pants, a smart shirt and dress shoes that will keep them looking dapper but comfortable. Remember to keep things understated, but leave room for improvisation in case your colleagues decide to dress up more formally or not.

DON’T: Drink like it’s 1999.
While office parties usually offer overflowing food and drinks, it doesn’t mean that you can eat and drink to your heart’s content or until the wee hours of the morning. Remember, people are watching you, (albeit discreetly) so keep your intake in check.

For alcoholic drinks, the rule of thumb is to alternate one drink with another beverage (soda, water or juice). Space your drinks accordingly. If you find yourself having a drink too many, ask a friend to lead you away from the crowd for a timely exit and drive you home (or hail a cab if you can still walk steadily). You do not want to be the talk of the office the following day by saying something you can’t remember or worse, doing something inappropriate.

DO: Keep conversation interesting.
Christmas parties are for socializing and becoming better acquainted with people from different departments. Don’t get too cozy, though, and keep your interactions professional. Toilet humor, dirty jokes, political issues, religion and other sensitive topics are off-limits. Don’t talk about work, either. The last thing that folks want to hear is how crappy the copying machine is. Blowing off steam during an office party is a no-no unless you want Human Resources to call you in and ask you to explain yourself. Whining about the food, drinks, service and venue is also negative, so keep things neutral.

Office parties may be the only time you can socialize with everyone in the company. While you’re expected to have plenty of fun during the party, it’s important to work it to make a good impression!

Thank you, Rachel!

Now Darlings, what are your tips for a successful office Christmas party?

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Sam Cooke – We’re Having A Party


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Lisa says:

    At my first job out of school I worked at a place with lots of young people, many of whom worked almost 24/7. Our Christmas parties were completely nuts. Each year, we had to find a new venue because we weren’t allowed back. They were fun, though!

  2. Patti says:

    OMG, me, too! I remember those days…..but I am kind of a grown up now. I’m pretty sure. lol