‘Tis the season for year-end office parties, and although there is no better time to let down your proverbial hair, you are still expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner.

Office parties are a great time to mix and mingle, but as with any other corporate events, you might not want to do or say anything that will cause you to regret your actions the next day. It may be the end of the year, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your professional reputation.

things to avoid doing in office parties
things to avoid doing in office parties

5 things not to do at your next office party

Here are some office party etiquette and useful tips on how to behave at your company year-end party.

1. don’t get drunk

We all love a good glass of wine, but it would be wise to exercise some form of restrain. You are still at an office event with your boss and colleagues after all. When you have too much alcohol in your system, your inhibitions are lowered and it becomes more and more difficult to control your words and behaviour.

You may think you are letting off some steam, but to those who are sober, you can come across as obnoxious, unruly and rude. Stumbling around and falling over furniture will likely see you end up being the brunt of jokes and gossip, even after the party. This would undoubtedly have a negative impact on both your personal and professional brand.

If you have any intention to drink at your next office party, please do not drink and drive either. Make sure to arrange a ride beforehand, call a valet, or hitch a ride with the designated driver.

2. don’t dress inappropriately

If you do not wish to stick out like a sore thumb at the party, avoid showing up in a revealing attire that shows too much skin, or wearing costumes or make up that could be offensive to certain races, cultures or religions.

Whether you are coming in an Oscar-worthy gown or an ugly Christmas sweater, always consider the general theme of the party when you are deciding what to wear. As a professional employee, it is critical to be self-aware of how you are representing yourself. It is never a good idea to dress up with the intention to have fun at someone else’s expense.

3. don’t talk shop

While some company parties may be held in the office, we don’t recommend you keep talking about work incessantly. There is a time and place to talk shop and promotions, and an office party is neither the time nor the place to get your pitch in.

These workplace parties are not only opportunities for employees to socialise and celebrate important occasions;, they also help people momentarily forget their mounting workload, giving them a chance to let their hair down and have a great time. People who are trying to take a mental break will likely start to avoid you at parties if you keep talking about work, so it’s best to bring the corporate talk down a notch.

4. don’t be a gossip monger

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Avoid engaging in office gossip, because talking negatively about someone when they’re not there to defend themselves says more about you than the person you’re talking about.

With a little bit of alcohol, good food and music, it is inevitable that someone may let slip their opinions about a colleague’s new haircut or outfit.

While small talk is always encouraged, you should try and weasel yourself out of any discussion that speaks unfavourably of others. It is imperative not to be caught up with such gossip as the information that is shared could be inaccurate. You do not want to be known as the gossipy one or risk over-sharing sensitive information that could potentially offend and damage your relationships with your colleagues.

5. don’t behave inappropriately towards your co-workers

In the era of Time’s Up and #MeToo, sexual harassment has garnered more attention than ever before. Even with a little bit of liquid courage, proper decorum is still expected of you even beyond the boundaries of your desk.

Holiday parties aren’t an excuse for anyone to behave inappropriately. Needless to say, casual flirting with your co-worker’s spouse will not earn you any points with them as well!

don’t do anything you will regret the next day.

Delicious food, great conversations and catchy beats. What’s there not to like about office parties?

It is important to catch up with your colleagues and maybe even forge new friendships. However, it is always important to be clear about the unwritten rules and boundaries that you should practice with the people you work with and respect. Just don’t do anything that you would regret the next day or feel embarrassed about. If you start to feel a little tipsy, call a cab home before things start going south.

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