Enjoy yourself at your office’s Christmas parties but take note of the dos and don’ts.
The Sunday Times
Nov 29, 2015
WHEN it comes to the traditional office Christmas party, some avoid it like the plague.
Others roll their eyes at the thought of engaging in light banter, inane jokes and office gossip at these gatherings.
Then there are those who try to cope by reaching for that extra can of beer.
However, office Christmas parties can be lots of fun if you know how to err on the side of good taste and decorum.
Though the parties are held to reward staff and forge camaraderie, it is still a company function, so your conduct at the party speaks volumes about your professionalism and maturity.
Drink in moderation
First, don’t get drunk. It can be tough for some social drinkers not to overindulge, especially if there is an open bar or free flow of alcohol.
Note: It is not advisable to drink on an empty stomach.
Ms Teo Ser Lee (left), founder and director of Protocol Academy, says: “Alternate between alcohol and water and do not end up as the casualty people talk about the next day.” Or stick with the two-to-three-drink limit. Another way is to pick a drink you are not especially fond of to avoid imbibing too much. Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.
Exchange gifts wisely
If your department or organisation participates in gift exchange, please join in.
If everyone has to drop a $10 to $20 gift into a box, then it is easypeasy. Stick to presents that have no religious connotations and avoid buying personal items like perfumes or lingerie.
Stylish gadget and smartphone accessories make excellent gifts and, if unwanted, can be re-gifted easily. Just remember not to recycle it back to the giver or someone close to the person, Ms Teo advises.
Be friendly, not smarmy
After a few drinks, you may overrate your charm or not realise that your flirting has crossed the line.
Ms Teo cautions that being over-friendly and unwanted flirtation can be misconstrued by your colleagues and bosses, even though you may think the behaviour is relatively harmless.
Remember that this is an office function and a certain decorum and professionalism is still needed.
It is best to also avoid off-colour party jokes altogether unless you are sure everyone will not be offended by it. If in any doubt, don’t tell the joke.
By all means, network with senior colleagues if you meet them in the buffet queue or are introduced to them.
Networking is important because friendly faces are easier to navigate during those inter-departmental
Also look out for the seemingly more reserved colleagues.
For example, chat with the IT person to thank him for keeping the network system running smoothly.
Who knows, you may need to count on him to rescue you one day when you run into problems with your laptop before a crucial presentation.
Besides, it can be more fun to get to know the quirkier colleague who may have watched Star Wars over 100 times!
Have a good time
If your party’s theme is less formal, now would be a good time to wear that flashy tie that you bought on an impulse.
If the pattern is not distasteful, it can be a great ice-breaker with strangers, and your colleagues can warm up to you if they think there is more to you than being a kiasu workaholic.
For ladies, avoid wearing anything too revealing because you want to be comfortable during the party.
It is not easy being yourself around your colleagues while having to shield a plunging neckline for decency’s sake. If in doubt: Be classy, not tarty.
Just this once, live a little and forget about your waistline or figure. Party organisers usually order more food to ensure latecomers are not deprived, so eat up.
Remember, the festive event is the time to chill and hang out with your colleagues. Party on!
This article was first published on November 29, 2015.
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