The annual holiday party is a company gathering meant to celebrate the season and a year of hard work. It is a great opportunity for coworkers to get to know each other, make the staff feel appreciated, and allow everyone from the company to relax after a long year. Although office parties have the best intentions for everyone to just have fun and unwind, there are always possibilities of managers and employees misbehaving (especially when alcohol is involved), which makes attending and planning the party a daunting endeavor. Consider the following party planning recommendations and office party etiquette pointers for an enjoyable, conflict-free experience.

Planning the Company Holiday Party

  • Establish a start and an end time for the party and consider having the party start in the afternoon instead of the evening to discourage heavy drinking and excessive partying.
  • Send out pre-party reminders of company policies on workplace conduct, anti-harassment, and employees’ social media.
  • If planning on serving alcohol implement a drinking system, schedule, or alternatives to avoid overindulgence:
    • For example give out limited drink tickets to each person, hire bartenders who will refuse to serve an intoxicated person, offer plenty of food and nonalcoholic beverages, and/or plan to close the bar well before the end of the event.
  • Enlist the help of HR managers and supervisors to watch employees who drink too much or address anyone who is generally misbehaving.
  • If possible, invite spouses and children to the party to serve as unintentional chaperones – everyone will try to be on their best behavior in front of family!
  • Set up a program such as employee recognition and/or some form of entertainment to keep people engaged in the event and with each other.

Office Party Etiquette

  • Eat and Drink in Moderation: If you choose to drink try to stick to a two drink maximum.
  • Dress Appropriately: This not the time nor the place to ignore the dress code, although it’s not a usual day at the office you are still expected to dress in business attire.
  • Introduce Yourself: Use this event as an opportunity to network within the company and meet upper management and people from other departments.
  • Keep Conversations Civil: Do not flirt, gossip, complain, or bring up any controversial topics that may offend someone or cause arguments – keep conversations light and positive.
  • Thank the Party Planners: Be sure to thank whoever coordinated the party as they most likely put a lot of time and effort into making sure everyone had a good time. Not only is it the nice thing to do, but it could potentially make you stand out from the other employees who did not thank them.
  • Take Home Message: No matter how festive the party is, it is still about business.




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