Career & Finance

Do’s And Don’ts Of End Of Year Office Parties


I am highly anti-social as far as office socializing is concerned. My reasoning is that if I have to spend the whole day with a bunch of people because of work, I shouldn’t have to voluntarily hang out with them when I am out of office. As a result, I never attend any office dos that can be construed as social events.  The closest I got to an office party was when our boss organized a “brainstorming” session at the beach. The beach should really have tipped me off. As soon as I realized that I had been hoodwinked to a party, I walked straight to the high table, grabbed a bottle of Black Label (to have my revenge )and high-tailed it out of Entebbe to the safety of my home. But that doesn’t mean that office parties aren’t fun. In fact apart from bonding with colleagues they can help advance your career. So here are some basic rules and guidelines the key do’s and don’ts to surviving and thriving the holiday office party.

The don’ts

Don’t pass up the invitation to an office party; not attending could hurt your reputation. And when you attend, do spend at least 30 minutes at the party for appearances. But don’t overstay your welcome by partying until the wee hours.

Don’t pull the nightclub attire from your closet for the event — and do ask whether the attire for the party is formal or casual. The party is still a business function, so conservative party clothes are a good choice. So, do remember to skip anything too revealing or too flashy. Keep your reputation for good taste intact.

Don’t feel you need to drink excessively just because it’s an open bar. And gorge yourself out at the food buffet either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party.

Don’t monopolize conversations — and, especially, don’t talk about yourself or your accomplishments all night. Do show interest in others. Do be gracious and thank coworkers and team members for all their help and hard work during the past year. And don’t even think about gossiping about others.

Don’t get too chummy with the boss, or any other crazy stuff you might do at a personal holiday party.

Don’t assume everyone celebrates the same holiday, so don’t go overboard with the “Merry Christmas.”

Don’t forget to thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. And do consider sending a thank-you note to top management for hosting the party.

Most importantly, Don’t drink and drive.


Do remember that although office parties are intended as social events to reward employees and raise morale, they remain strictly business events. Do act as though your behavior is being observed every minute (because it is).

Do conduct yourself professionally at all times. Don’t use the office party as an excuse to blow off steam. It’s still a company function, so proper etiquette and decorum matter.

Do enjoy yourself at the party. Employers spend the big bucks to reward their employees, so be sure to enjoy the only holiday gift you may be getting from the company.

Do keep your hands to yourself. Don’t flirt, and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior. The office party is not the time to end your career with the company by doing something inappropriate or illegal.

Do keep all conversations positive and upbeat. Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging, correcting, whining, or ridiculing. And do avoid controversial subjects (such as religion, politics, etc.) and off-color jokes.

Do keep one hand free during the night so that you can offer handshakes to people as they come by. And do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening.

Do take the time to network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career or who you may not see regularly, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships, so do introduce yourself and build your network.

Do be sure you know exactly who is invited to the party. Spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties. And if guests are permitted, don’t bring an inappropriate person as your guest.

Do inquire about office policies on providing car or cab service for employees attending the holiday party. And do appoint a designated driver or do hire a cab yourself if the company is not willing to provide the rides home.