The Holiday Office Party Survival Guide

‘Tis the season of holiday parties–and if an office party is on your list of shindigs to attend, we hope this event is enjoyed by all. But if you are among those who dread your workplace’s annual mid-winter bash, this survival guide can help you turn that around. Follow these tips for an office party you’ll actually enjoy.

Limit your alcohol intake

Office politics, unspoken resentment and holiday spirits can be a potent mix. Avoid making a scene you’ll never live down by limiting your drinks at the office party. Consider having just one drink or sticking to club soda while at the party.

Ask about bringing a plus-one

If the office holiday party is always a tiresome bore, ask your boss, or party organizer, if it would be okay for you to bring along a partner. You’ll likely have a far more enjoyable time when sharing the evening with a significant other.

Use the party to network 

If you work for a large company where you don’t know all the employees by name, you’ll likely see lots of new faces. Take this opportunity to make connections and network with other guests. Make an effort to introduce yourself to at least three people and to ask open-ended questions that facilitate conversation. With any luck, you’ll walk away with several new contacts who can help promote your career growth.

Don’t over– or under–stay your welcome

It’s nearly always a good idea to arrive at a party a bit after the official start time and to leave before it’s actually over. You’re likely accustomed to being punctual for any work-related event, but this isn’t a performance review or staff meeting. It can be super-awkward to show up at the party and find you’re the only attendee aside from that one person everyone is convinced actually lives at the office. You also want to leave before you’re the last guest, so start saying your goodbyes when you see some of your coworkers taking their leave.

Ask about the dress code before the party

Nothing ruins an evening like a wardrobe gaffe. Don’t be shy to ask your boss, the party’s organizer or an in-the-know coworker about the event’s dress code beforehand. This way, you can dress with confidence and fit right in with the rest of the crowd.

Don’t forget a thank you for party hosts

Office parties may feel impersonal, but there’s someone who planned each detail of the party down to the choice of floaters for your cocktail. That someone deserves a thank you, and as a party guest, you owe them that much. Take the time to let them know you appreciate their hard work before you leave.

Office parties don’t have to be an exercise in endurance. Use the tips outlined here to make the most of your workplace’s holiday bash. Happy partying!

Your Turn:

How do you survive the annual holiday office party? Share your best tips with us in the comments.

About Kyle Trondle

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