How to Behave at the Office Christmas Party

It's that time again. The end of the year is approaching fast, and our thoughts turn to the festive season and some well-earned time off work. But Christmas is also the season to be jolly, and very often, office colleagues will meet for drinks and perhaps a meal after work. In most cases, an organised office party will be on the cards, too. The 'office do' can be a fabulous opportunity to relax and have a little bit of fun with your fellow workers. It can also be a disaster waiting to happen. Here are some tips on how to behave at your office Christmas party.

#1 Turn up

No matter how you feel about the occasion make sure you go. The office party is an excellent opportunity to meet the boss in a casual setting and a great chance to network with new people. Both of these things can really give your career a boost. If you're still reluctant, try to think of the event like it's a visit to a distant relative; even if you really don't feel like going, you probably still should.


#2 Choose your outfit carefully

It's a good idea to find out beforehand what everyone else will be wearing at the party. Then match the tone with your outfit. There's nothing worse than turning up for a smart party dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. This will instantly put you on the back foot, and you'll be an easy target for sarcastic comments. If you're female, try and find a compromise somewhere in between 'attractive and sexy' and 'professional and serious.' Clothing that is slightly revealing can be fun, but is inappropriate in the company of your boss and other superiors.


#3 Arrive on time

Punctuality is important, even if it feels like you're going to a relaxed event. Remember, you're not going clubbing with your friends. Your boss will more than likely be at the party so arriving fashionably late could give the wrong impression. Also, if you show up at the correct time, you'll have the chance to say hello to everyone, and if needs be, you can leave early without appearing rude.


#4 Mingle

Make sure you acknowledge all of your coworkers, especially your superiors and their associates. Talking to them about work issues can put you in good stead, just be positive and complimentary. Also, don't be afraid to steer the conversation towards topics outside of work, such as football, dogs, or the latest films on at the cinema, for example. And even if there is someone there who you really don't like, it's still good to have a brief chat with them, just make sure you remember to smile when you do. If you're looking for a promotion, the office party is an excellent opportunity to corner your boss and share the ideas you have about raising productivity and winning new clients. Keep it casual and humble because no matter how much they may appear to be enjoying the party, they are still very much your boss.


#5 Go easy on the booze

If there's one thing that can ruin your reputation, it's losing control at the office party. Of course, it's important that you join in with the drinking, or you may appear too stiff, but judge the tone carefully. Under no circumstances should you get drunk and tell your boss what you think of them. Or anyone else for that matter. The more you've had to drink the more likely you are to do something you'll regret. However, if your boss is leading the way in the alcohol stakes and the rest of the party is really buzzing, then it can be okay to let your hair down. Just be sure you know your own limits.


#6 Don't get overly romantic

If there's a colleague at the party who you've been secretly admiring all year, then you might be tempted to make a move. This situation usually goes one of two ways; at the last moment, you may ask yourself how much you like them, how attracted they are to you and how much have you had to drink. This is what is known as a 'reality check.' If you fail this reality check, under no circumstances should you attempt an approach. However, if you do pass the reality check, this could be the opportunity you've both been waiting for all year. If you do hit it off, be sure to be discreet. Your coworkers are guaranteed to gossip as soon as they see anything happen. On the other hand, you might find yourself being hit on—even by your boss—if it's not to your liking try to remain tactful. You don't want to damage your relationships with your colleagues. Do your best to let them down gently.


Some of the things you shouldn't do at the office party are; talk incessantly about work, criticise the company you work for, or your boss. Another mistake people often make is that they suddenly start treating subordinates as friends, or even worse, they become temporary best buddies with the CEO. Also, don't dance like no one is watching, ( because they are) and don't force yourself to the front of the karaoke queue. And above all else, whatever you do don't ever be the last one to leave.


To sum up

You can have a great time at the office Christmas party, just remember to be punctual, choose the right outfit, mingle, drink responsibly, and tread carefully on the field of romance. Following these few simple tips can mean the difference between having an enjoyable evening where you strengthen the ties with your coworkers and bosses, and feeling uncomfortable and quite possibly embarrassing yourself to the point where you'll be the subject of whispered conversations for the entire next twelve months.

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