When there’s smoke, there’s fire. And when there’s Christmas, there’s office parties.
There’s nothing better than a good office party to facilitate camaraderie and team bonding. It’s even better when there’s good food and alcohol involved! Despite this, some of us still feel anxious about office parties. We’re scared to slip into our “second best” behaviour instead of our usual best. Or we’re terrified of messing up because well...we’ve had one too many drinks.
Not to worry though! As an IT recruitment agency that knows how to have fun, we’ve got some tips for you to help you through your next office party.
1. Ask about the finer details
Before you say yes to the next office party, ask about the finer details of your upcoming office party. Try asking your human resources department if you could bring a plus one to the party!
Bringing a friend might help alleviate some of your nerves. Keep in mind to bring someone that brings out the best in you! They need to help keep you out of trouble.
Pro-tip: Refrain from bringing your kids, spouse, or family member to the office party (even if your superiors allow it). Bringing a family member might cause you to focus on them, instead of your colleagues.
2. Dress appropriately
There’s nothing more embarrassing than turning up to a party badly dressed. Unless it’s a costume party, it’s best to dress as you would for work. It’s still a work event! Of course you should disregard this advice if your creative HR department has crafted a specific dress code to match the party’s theme. You wouldn’t want to be the only jerk not dressing to match the theme now, do you?
3. Don’t be late
Or try not to be late. If the party’s happening around your office premises...there’s really no excuse to be late. When it comes to parties, there is a thing such as the “perfect timing”. And for office parties, it’s always good to arrive 15 minutes earlier out of respect for the organizers involved.
Plus, there will be less people around. It’ll be easier for you to strike up conversation and slowly integrate yourself into the heart of the party. A great tip for the socially anxious (like me).
4. If there’s food involved, offer to bring some of yours
Potluck parties are no stranger to anyone in Hong Kong. If you have some form of cooking talent, offer to bring some of your delicious home cooking to feed your work friends. Seriously though this is one way to rise up the social ranks within your office walls.
But don’t forget to ask around and find out the menu your office has offered. You wouldn’t want to bring a Greek or an Italian dish to an Asian potluck. Unless you’ve found a way to turn your foreign dish into a delicious plate of fusion food (e.g. stir fried macaroni).
Pro-tip: Only offer to bring food when it is a casual party (e.g. barbecue, party within the office premises).
5. Follow these party food rules
Everyone loves food! But to remain on everyone’s good side, there are some food ettiquette rules you should keep in mind and follow.
Food rule number #1: If there’s a buffet, wait in line. No matter how hungry you are (or how slow the person in front of you is...please hurry).
Food rule number #2: Monitor the amount you’re eating. Try not to load your plate up with a huge amount of food. Eat in moderate quantities.
Food rule number #3: Wait for people. Don’t start eating until the people around you have. Also, try to find a place to sit instead of standing up!
Food rule number #4: Eat slowly to avoid burping loudly or worse...farting in public. No, this advice is not based on the writer’s personal experience.
Food rule number #5: Put everything where they belong. Throw your trash, put the utensils in their designated cleaning area. Just clean up after yourself!
Food rule number #6: Keep one hand free for handshakes. Or tissues and/or hand sanitizers with you to wipe away any food debris before your handshake.
6. Don’t get too intoxicated
Only a fool would drink excessively at an office party. If there is alcohol around, don’t overdrink! You know your limit best, but it’d be better to stray away from alcohol overall. Those delicious bottles of beer might sound like a great idea at first but when your inhibitions are lowered, so will your etiquette. Some problems that drinking at the office party leads to include, making silly jokes or passing lewd comments. Or worse, embarassing yourself in front of your colleagues.
With your inhibitions lowered, it will be easier for you to get into trouble and alter someone’s favourable impression of you.
7. Join in the fun!
Parties are meant to be fun! Games are one way to bond with your coworkers. So if there’s karaoke or party games going on, don’t hesitate to join in the fun. Remember, this is your chance to mingle and network with colleagues from different departments! But don’t overdo it.
Pro-tip: Brush up on your knowledge of the company’s leaders, heads, and supervisors. It’s a good way to identify and network with them too!
8. Share your experience online
Photos help you encapsulate those memories forever. Don’t forget to take photos of some of the party atmosphere. So grab your work bffs or your lunch kakis and get snapping!
What are some of your office parties do’s and don’ts? Share with us in the comments section below!