How to have fun and keep it classy at end-of-year office parties

28 Nov, 2016

You know the drill: you’ve burnt the candle at both ends all year and delivered results. Now it’s time to celebrate the year-end in style. The annual holiday office party provides a great opportunity to socialise with co-workers and bosses whom you don’t normally have a chance to mix with. Surrounded by free-flowing booze and good music, here’s how to mingle and jingle while avoiding potential pitfalls:

Let your hair down
Your company goes out of its way to plan and pay for a festive holiday party – because they want you to enjoy it and blow off some steam. So relax, enjoy and have fun while building valuable out-of-the-office relationships with your co-workers. You may find out you have more in common than just your cubicle wall and love for coffee.

Dress up for a party
When you’re picking your outfit, have fun. Don’t be afraid to dress-up, wear a little more makeup than usual, style your hair and give people a glimpse of who you are outside the office. Step up your fashion game but skip the strapless dress and the miniskirt. You know you look good – but you’re better off getting your supervisor’s attention with creative ideas than with your cleavage.

Be smart with the booze
Face it, you don’t have the alcohol tolerance you had when you were eighteen. Also, it’s not appropriate to show your wild side to the same person who conducts your annual review. Enjoy a few drinks but beware: mixing alcohol with informal conversation can be a dangerous combination. Have a few drinks to loosen up, but if you’re becoming loose-lipped, switch to soda (no vodka). Everyone will think you’re still having a party so there won’t be any peer pressure – but you’ll keep a lid on lewd behaviour.

Break out of your comfort zone
The office party is time to have fun so don’t act like you’re too proud to dance. Get involved, but don’t go overboard. You don’t want your video shared on Facebook or the subject of Monday morning watercooler whispers. Keep your phone at bay – don’t stand in the corner texting your friends or posting photos on Facebook.

No work talk
If you really want to get ahead at the office, people need to think you have a life outside of it. Keep the conversation simple and light. Asking about holiday plans is a safe bet. If your chat turns to something heavier like politics or religion, change the subject – you don’t want to offend anyone or get into unnecessary brawls. Make sure the conversation is balanced between talking and listening – don’t make it all about you.

Make the effort to attend
Showing up is important no matter how optional or open-ended the invite. The last thing you want to do is give the perception you’re not a team player because you didn’t show up. It’s a great networking opportunity and a way to show your commitment – not just to your job but to forming bonds with your co-workers.