Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Office Party? Ask yourself these 5 questions

By Cathy Kuzel on Nov 29 2010 • Filed under The Connected Woman

Every year around the holiday season, companies have office parties and every year someone will become the ‘talk of the town’ but not for the best reasons! Here are the answers to 5 key questions to ask yourself BEFORE you attend that next holiday get together.

1. Do I have to go?

Just being there is 80 percent of success. Consider the office party as an extension of your job. In general, when your boss invites you to a social occasion, you should attend.

2. What should I wear?

If the event is after work, and the invitation does not indicate otherwise, business attire is appropriate.

If the party is in the evening or on the weekend, check with your host or coworkers you trust. While gold lamé may be back in fashion this holiday season, what you choose to wear should reflect well on you professionally. Flashing reindeer antlers definitely should remain at home.

3. How long should I stay?

Stay at least an hour and make sure people see you. With a large crowd, interact with as many people as possible, especially the VIP’s like your boss and senior management. When you do leave, don't sneak out; say good-bye to the hosts and thank them.

If you are really enjoying yourself, check your watch. Like Cinderella, you don’t want to turn into the office pumpkin. If your invitation was from 6-8pm, don't stay one minute past 8pm.

4. How much should I eat and drink?

If it’s a reception with hors d'oeuvres, hold your glass in your left hand and avoid ‘saucy’ foods so you have a clean handshake. A full buffet is a temptation but keep moderation in mind. It is not wise to heap your plate with a little of everything only to leave it when you are full. You certainly don’t want to be known as a ‘glutton’ or ‘food waster’.

Ahh, the drinks. Alcohol and business rarely mix so limit yourself. You will want to keep your wits about you because your conduct can have a direct bearing on your job. Once you start to feel the effects of alcohol, you probably have had too much. Even though dancing on the table with the knotted napkin on your head seemed to be a good idea at the time, chances are you may be checking the want ads in the next week or two.

5. Do I Need To Bring a Gift?

Some office parties will include a gift exchange among co-workers. Choose consumable products like gourmet foods, coffee, jams and biscuits and stay within the recommended value. If no value has been suggested, $15 – $20 is reasonable.

If there is no employee gift exchange, bring a gift for your host. If you choose to bring flowers, take a potted plant or cut flowers already arranged in a vase. Again, gift baskets with jams, jellies, or gourmet food items are the best choices. 

The holiday office party can be a challenge. What you say and do will be remembered for a long time in the minds of your colleagues. Make sure you’re remembered for all the right reasons!

Happy Holidays!

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