The Etiquette of the Office Party

One of the joys of the holiday season is the office party. Some office parties are elaborate affairs while others are quite intimate. Whether large or small, the office holiday party is a time to connect with your peers away from budgets and deadlines.


First, attendance is mandatory. For some people, holiday parties can seem like a forced exercise in corporate merriment and to a degree they may be right, but it’s all about relationship building. Your relationship with the organization and your coworkers is evident at company-sponsored events; think of it as team building. You know Oscar in the accounting department that you have only spoken to on the phone? It’s time to meet him in person and laugh about that mistake he helped you correct.


Holiday parties help build company culture. The steps on the corporate ladder are lowered for the evening and you will mingle with managers, executives and even the CEO. Shake hands and speak with all of them; make your presence known. This is one of only a few opportunities where you all will be gathered so closely.


Be composed. The time of the year is festive, but that doesn't mean you should leave your professionalism at home. The Santa Claus costume you found on E-bay should stay in the box, but a creative and classy tie always makes an impression. But the most important part of your outfit should be your smile. The key is for you to remember that you are still an employee and your actions will influence your image within the company. In other words, you need to be aware of the message you are sending through your behavior.

A few more short tips:

  • Who’s invited? The guest list may be open to your significant other, but it’s always a good idea to check first.
  • Leave business at the door. The office party is a time to eat, drink and be merry. Any shop talk should be limited to short comments.
  • Remember to say thank you! Those that sponsored the event worked diligently to provide a special evening; don't forget them.