An office party can be a double-edged sword.
While these gatherings offer an opportunity for employees to get to know their co-workers and managers on a social level, the events also present a chance for workers to really hurt their reputations. Employees who don't handle themselves appropriately could find their standing in the office dropping several notches.
The goals when attending an office party is to get to know co-workers socially, while also establishing relationships with those in the company who you hadn't previously met, said Candace Murphy, IT manager for the Addison Group, a Chicago-based professional staffing and recruiting services firm.
"You want to be recognized as someone who everyone enjoyed speaking with at the party, not the employee who misbehaved," Murphy told Business News Daily.
Murphy answered six questions about how employees should handle themselves at company parties:
How many drinks should I have?
Take care to avoid having more than three drinks in the span of one afternoon. This way, you can indulge in the open bar, but still make coherent conversation with your colleagues and with company executives.
What should I wear?
Dress to impress, but also present yourself appropriately. The location and time of the party should indicate what kind of dress code to expect. Remember you are attending a company outing; you are not a celebrity walking the red carpet. So leave the 4-inch heels at home, along with anything short, tight or revealing.
Should I be "fashionably late"?
No. Arrive in the first 30 minutes. Your co-workers will remember if you stayed for just 10 minutes or left early. Your absence or tardiness may not ruin your career, but your attendance shows loyalty to your manager and your organization.
What if I'm not very social?
Don't be tempted to use your phone as a crutch to avoid conversations by texting your friends or checking your Twitter feed the entire night. And don't just hang out with those from your group. This is the perfect opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people from another division whom you may not have met. To help, think of a few topics or questions before the party that you can use to strike up a conversation with someone new.
Can I bring a "plus one"?
Instead of a plus one, opt for going solo or a with a work colleague of the same sex.
Should I talk with the senior executives?
Yes! There are only a few opportunities to make yourself known to the CEO and executive directors, and this is one of them. So, take advantage of it, and give yourself a proper introduction.
Don't forget to show thanks.
Before you leave, make sure you find your boss, CEO and the staff that put the party together and thank them for a great event.