Now that the holiday season has arrived, your company may be planning a party to celebrate the end of a hardworking year.”People like to work with people they know so take this opportunity to let down your hair a little,” Helene Wasserman, an attorney for Littler, an international firm focused exclusively on labour and employment laws, tells us.
Although you’ll be hanging out with people you work with and there’s a good chance alcohol will be involved, the holiday party is still a professional event.
According to Wasserman, it’s not uncommon to get harassment claims around the holiday season. She blames it on the alcohol.
“The best way to survive is to remember that you’re still at work and the rules still apply,” Wasserman says. “If you’re talking to your boss and a drink is in your hand, he’s still your boss.”
Alcohol or no alcohol, we compiled some tips from Wasserman and other experts to help you survive your office party — and keep your job.
While you work away all year, spending even more hours with your co-workers might not sound too fun, but blowing off an office soiree is not the best choice to make.
To show that you're committed to the company, make sure you show up for at least 30 minutes. Always assume company gatherings are 'must attend' events.
Even if the party takes place at the office, Drew Magary at GQ advises to go home after work, then come back. If you can't do that, just continue working until you see that 75 per cent of your colleagues have turned on their holiday mode. Magary writes:
'You know who shows up on time? That one creepy lady who works in human resources who you never talk to. Now it's just you two, standing there while the DJ spins 'Gangnam Style.' '
Don't forget that company's dress, behaviour and harassment policies still apply — even if its off-site.
In other words, don't ask about that new position opening up or if you're eligible for a raise. It's tacky. Since it's an office event, it's obvious that some business-related conversations will come up, but don't come to the party with an agenda, Wasserman tells us.
Also, try to avoid all gossiping about your co-workers.
Being in a social environment may make you feel like its appropriate -- don't listen to this little voice.
Although there might be hors d'oeuvre, you should still eat well before the party begins. If not, you may become more intoxicated than you intended. Furthermore, eating while you're mingling isn't the most comfortable in a professional setting.
Jason Fitzpatrick at Lifehacker writes:
'A solid meal will cause your stomach to focus on slowing the movement of food and liquid through your body so the digestive process can occur. If you skip the pre-bar-hopping meal, the alcohol you drink is essentially boarding a speed train to your blood stream. Focus on fat and protein-loaded foods to provide a nice slow-burning meal that will help regulate the absorption of alcohol.'
According to the U.S. Department of labour, these foods make you thirstier so it makes sense that you'll take more swigs of your alcoholic beverage.
Instead, try to find foods that are rich in starch and protein. They'll stay in your stomach longer and slow down the alcohol entering your bloodstream.
Bottom line: You'll stay sober, longer.
Don't forget that people aren't just celebrating Christmas, they're celebrating other holidays too, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule.
'Employees may be more reserved and less likely to engage in offensive behaviour when accompanied by their significant others,' former employment lawyer Kate Bally, who now works at Practical Law Company, a knowledge management company, tells The Daily Business Review.
Don't dance — especially if it's a slow song — with another employee. This will spark office rumours.
It might be a festive event, but don't make a name for yourself as the company's party animal. Also, try to stop drinking an hour before you leave, Wasserman said.
Some of your coworkers may want to go out after the party ends and if you've been controlling your alcohol intake, feel free to go and mingle with your colleagues.
However, a few drinks later, if someone suggests a third venue, don't go. Why?
'...By the time you make it to that third venue, the vibe has changed. It's no longer the 'happy hour' crowd. It's now the 'let's rage' crowd.'
'At this moment -- as a working adult -- you need to make a choice. The moment your colleagues see you in a compromising position, they will view you differently. Or they won't. But is that a choice you want to make? Because at this point, there is no turning back.'
This is even more crucial if you get intoxicated at the party. Everyone will know why you didn't show up to work the next day -- including your boss.
'...You have to go to work the next day. If you don't, everyone will know why and they will sit around and talk about your bad behaviour the night before twice as much. If you're there, they have to sneak around and do it behind your back, which will cut down on the office gossip by at least 50 per cent. You're already in trouble, don't make it worse.'
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