The holidays are upon us and that means the season of office parties will hit full stride.
Candy corn. Candy canes. Brownies. Egg nog. Cake. Cookies. Casseroles. Crock-pot mysteries. All of it will descend on the office like the settlers who first came to America.
Unfortunately, the tidings of good joy we’re supposed to bring to office parties can be foiled by a brownie-and-soda fueled faux pas and a litany of other breaches of etiquette that can swoop into office merriment and steal all the joy.
There are few of us who don’t have memories of awkward holiday-party moments where things were said and done that never should have happened.
We scoured our favorite sites for some solid holiday party etiquette tips you should keep in mind as you walk into your break room with your pumpkin pie.
Drink, But Don’t Overdo It
Look, we know not everyone’s had a banner year at work. We also know that employees and managers alike don’t always have a perfect home life. Things get tough. Life goes in cycles.
If you find yourself in a low season, your office holiday party is not the time to see how quickly you can get to the bottom of that Smirnoff bottle.
“This is probably the most common mistake that some employees and managers make during the year-end holiday celebration. While many organizations are still offering a full bar, others have begun limiting how much alcohol will be served at the event,” The Balance’s Rob Hard wrote in a 2016 article. “Regardless of the company’s decision, it highlights that nobody should over-consume.”
The decisions your company makes about how much or how little you can drink is up to them. Whatever they do, the responsibility ultimately falls on your shoulders. Act wisely.
Respect the Bosses – And Their Bosses Too
Whether it’s a white elephant party in a boss’ home or just a massive get-together in the office, there’s a good chance that you’re going to interact with your company’s higher-ups more than you do all year.
This is your chance to get some face time with the decision makers, so handle yourself accordingly, said Susan Bryant, a contributor at Monster.com.
“This is a great opportunity to become visible to your organization’s higher-ups,” Bryant wrote. “At the very least, don’t spend the entire evening with your regular office buddies — get in the holiday spirit and mingle with people from other departments.”
This a great point; everyone’s in a good mood and it’s the perfect time to make some small talk with the heavy hitters.
Apply the Two-Fridge Rule to All Photos You Post on Social Media
We all tend to have a quick trigger finger when it comes to posting photos, but office etiquette expert Blais Comeau told Huffington Post Canada that every employee should run the picture through the two-fridge test.
“Before you put photos on Facebook, consider this: Whatever you want to post, imagine putting it on your fridge at home and see if the pictures are appropriate if your kids walk by,” Comeau said. “The second fridge is at work. If your co-workers or boss walks by, is it still okay?”
Leave Your Complaints at Home
There’s always the risk of an office party turning into a hate-fest in which you and your closest colleagues unleash criticisms and complaints – the gripes you’ve been saving up all year but never felt quite secure enough to talk about at work.
Here’s the deal: Complaints don’t make a great holiday party. They may give you a sense of vindication or relief, but those factors are temporary. You’re bound to have something new to complain about the next time you walk through the doors of your workplace.
Forbes contributor Kate Harrison says the best way to do that is to control your complaining and let private matters be private.
“Office politics tend to rear their ugly head when people have had a couple of drinks, freeing up their inhibitions that otherwise serve them well. You may end up sharing far more than you intended and it won’t reflect well on you, in the long term, no matter how right you are. Private matters should remain private, for everyone’s sake.”