One of the few times of the year everyone from the interns to the CEO can be in the same room is during the annual office holiday party. While some find this tradition a bit of a chore, if you give it a chance, these get-togethers can not only be fun, but can also be a great chance to have conversations practically impossible any other time of the year.
There are, however, some things to keep in mind as you head out with your colleagues to celebrate all you’ve accomplished in 2016. Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of this year’s party:
What to do:
- Get to know your executives/your employees. Office parties provide some of the greatest opportunities for the leadership team to interact casually with employees from all different levels of the company. For employees, take the time to approach executives, remind them of your role (if appropriate) and try to get to know them better. For executives, keep yourself open to conversations with all ranks within the organization. Everyone should try to keep the conversation casual, and brief. If someone monopolizes time, any goodwill created in the conversation could diminish, and then some, for both parties.
- Network. There are likely people from other areas within the company that you don’t yet know. Introduce yourself, and use the time to learn more about them and what they do (without dragging on about work). You never know when you may be looking for a change within the organization, and having a relationship established, even on some small level, can be beneficial if and when the time comes.
- Have fun! You go the office each and every day, and work hard. The office party is meant to celebrate that work. Take advantage of this, and try to enjoy yourself.
What NOT to do:
- Don’t talk shop. No one wants to leave the office only to turn around and talk about work again. Sure, this can be hard, but try to focus on things outside of the decisions and tasks you address in meetings. Engage with your co-workers and learn more about what you may have in common outside of the office. It will make coming to work day in and day out that much sweeter.
- Don’t ask for a raise/promotion. It’s true the office party is a great chance to get in front of higher level employees (see #1 above). This does not mean, however, that it is appropriate to bring up work-related requests with them. If this is on your mind, schedule time with them either before or after the party, and do the leg work. An off the cuff request at the wrong time would in most cases do more harm than good.
- Remember where you are. It’s true that most holiday parties involve alcohol. This does not give you an excuse to act any less professional than you do at the office. You may think no one will notice you flirting with the married partner or complaining about your office mate more candidly than you have in the past. Trust us, they will notice. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want the entire company to be aware of, because whether you like it or not, they most likely will.
What advice do you have for holiday parties?