The holiday season is fast approaching and with it the proverbial office party, or parties. Surviving the office party is just as important as doing the daily work. Be prepared by following these simple guidelines for observing basic manners in dealing with bosses and co-workers. Remember, proper etiquette never goes out of style.

The Most Important Rule

No matter what the situation is, do not drink more than one glass of alcohol, if any. This is to ensure the mouth stays closed about any inappropriate statements an alcohol-filled brain may want to spew out. It also shows the employee is a conscious drinker who does not drink and drive.

Conversations During Office Parties

This is not the time to chat with the boss or department manager directly about future potential positions. It’s hard not to talk about work, so try to talk about hobbies or sports. Politics is a tricky subject as well. It’s okay to ask about a specific project or contract, but hopefully, the answer is a foregone conclusion.

Asking about recent movies or books is a great way to ease the awkwardness. It’s always a good idea to get people talking about what they like, or what they saw.

Do not talk about co-workers, or who is next to be fired. Keep the gossip for private conversations with trusted employees. Someone may be listening in to the conversation and maybe offended.

What to Wear

Office party attire should remain within the boundaries of good taste. This is not the time to wear that dancing outfit that shows off bare skin. After five attire is a good rule of thumb to follow. Too casual gives the impression that the party and those attending are not important enough to dress up for; too daring and the talk will center on attire, not on performance, for the next review.

Types of Office Parties

Many large companies still have a formal party this time of year. Many smaller companies have given up this luxury, and opt for a dinner out for employees only. Some even just have a small catered affair in the office after hours.

If there is a chance employees are asked what kind of party – try this suggestion: have the employees donate cash or food supplies for a local charity, and the company matches the donation. In these economic times, it is better to let others less fortunate benefit from this type of office party. Then employees can spend the time with loved ones or friends.

Bottom Line

Etiquette is important even during the holiday season. Remember, it is still a company-sponsored event. Wear appropriate attire, keep the conversation on a happy and non-invasive tone, and stay away from the alcohol. Even better, avoid the office party situation and have the company and employees give to a local charity. Share the wealth with others less fortunate. It’s a wonderful feeling to give rather than receive, and that’s what the holiday season is really about.

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