Work holiday party etiquette

Tis the season to be jolly, but when it comes to holiday parties for your work, it’s important to keep proper etiquette in mind.

On one hand, holiday parties are a great opportunity to let your coworkers see you in your best light (and maybe even impress your boss). On the other hand, inappropriate behavior could damage your reputation, or worse, cause you to lose your job.

Here are five tips to help you navigate these treacherous waters:

  1. Don’t spend the whole night on your phone. Today’s tech-savvy world has made it more difficult than ever to disconnect from our devices. When you’re at the party, try to put down your phone and be in the moment. This is your opportunity to connect with your coworkers and get to know them better. Sure it’s okay to snap a few photos at the event, but don’t let your phone become the essence of your social interaction.
  2. Introduce yourself to new people. Don’t spend the whole night with your regular office friends. Use this as an opportunity to network and mingle with people from other departments. This also might be the only time you see the higher executives in person, so don’t be afraid to engage them in a short conversation—a good first impression can go a long way.
  3. Keep your private life private. You want to be friendly and personable, but keep in mind that these are your coworkers. You don’t want to risk saying something that could rub someone the wrong way or call your professionalism into question. You also want to avoid engaging in office gossip or spreading rumors.
  4. Don’t drink too much. It’s okay to have a few drinks at the party, but know your limit and stick to it regardless of what other employees might be doing. Getting drunk and causing a scene in front of your coworkers is the last thing you want to happen. It’s unprofessional and you could end up losing your job.
  5. Send a thank you. Planning an event is no easy task, so don’t forget to thank the people who coordinated the party—either in person, with a card, or via email. Not only is it the polite thing to do, it also makes you stand out from the many employees who don’t say a thank you.

Even though work holiday parties are meant to be a celebration, they’re still business events at the end of the day. Have a good time, but be conscious of your behavior because a tarnished reputation can be difficult to repair.

Guest Blogger: August Braun is a Communications Intern at TDS Telecom and a journalism student at UW-Madison.

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