Office Party Etiquette: Avoid Doing These 5 Things

By Robert Half November 3, 2017 at 8:00am

When it’s time for an office party, do you make an appearance, make a scene or make other plans?

While attending an office party is not usually mandatory, it’s generally considered good form to accept the invitation. Once you arrive, it’s important to remember office party etiquette. If your conduct gets you pegged as “one to watch,” make sure it’s for the right reasons.

No matter if you’re an executive sending an invitation or a consultant sending an RSVP, try your best to avoid these five less-than-acceptable office party behaviors so you can have a great time without sending your career off-track:

1. Talk shop ‘til they drop

Even though it’s a great opportunity for quality time with colleagues, an office party should be about mingling, not brainstorming. Be aware of people’s subtle cues if they’re looking to make a graceful exit from too much shop talk.

2. Bring everyone down

An office party is not the place to unload your personal burdens, complain about injustice or wallow in woe. Keep a cheery disposition and offer upbeat discussion topics.

Find out which cities have the best and worst holiday parties, according to an OfficeTeam survey:

3. Stir up controversy

Steer clear of contentious issues involving politics or religion. Opt for lighter fare instead, like your favorite restaurants, good books, interesting travel destinations or entertainment news.

4. Drink too much

Don’t overdo the open bar. That old adage is true: “loose lips sink ships,” or in this case, careers. When your judgment is impaired, you’re more likely to do or say something that you’re sure to regret, but your boss is sure to remember.

5. Gossip and gawk

The office party may look and feel social, but it’s still a business function. If you’re pointing fingers or intruding on someone’s personal space, you’re not only damaging your team’s morale, you may also be violating your company’s harassment policies.

Get even more office holiday party tips here:

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

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