Parties at the workplace can be a tricky area to navigate.
We’ve always been told not to mix our office lives with the after hours fun. But falling into the grey area between work and play are office parties.
It is important to be seen at office parties, even if only for some time. Don’t show up and you could be seen as a spoilsport and uptight besides, you may miss out on an excellent opportunity to network.
Your office is organizing a party on Friday night. You can think of a million better ways to spend that time. So, how important is it to attend the party? Very important Tempting as it may be to feign illness or other commitments, the loss will be only your own. Offices parties are a chance to network and bond with others from the organization. As we all know, knowing the right people is critical to organizational growth today.
Speak to different people, especially those from departments other than your own. This is perhaps the best chance to get to know some of your colleagues in a casual relaxed setting. Make an effort to speak to the spouse of your colleagues. An office party is one of the few occasions when people let their guard down at the workplace and are willing to mingle and joke about. The entire mood is light and laid back. The usual office rules don’t apply and everyday dynamics are suspended. Speak to new people, don’t stick to the colleagues you already know well. Try to strike up a good conversation with your superiors as well.
Stick within generally accepted limits of decency and appropriateness. Avoid excesses – alcohol and food. While the open bar and delicious buffet line may be extremely tempting control your urges. It is also not okay to dance on the table, however well you may dance. While you may be remembered as the star of party it may prevent the management from taking you seriously in the future. Remember you are always being watched. You are in the same room as the senior management and your boss’s boss. Have fun but be level headed about it. A good workplace reputation is built slowly and steadily over time but can easily get destroyed.
Don’t forget the best way to strike up a conversation, is by making eye contact with the person and smiling. The usual rules of conversational etiquette apply here too. Stay clear of controversial areas like religion, politics and gender. While humour always works, jokes that may be offensive should be avoided.
Extend the conversation beyond office work and current deadlines. Talk about common interests and passion like sports, music or movies. Once you establish some sort of common ground, you will always have something to share with your colleagues even during the everyday office routine.
Dressing for an office party is often a sticky question. You don’t want to look underdressed nor do you want to be the office Christmas tree. Collaborate with few other colleagues so that you all dress to a similar level. Avoid jarring colours or designs that expose too much skin. Make an effort to dress up and look nice. The entire point of an office party is to get noticed. Ask yourself, would your CEO be more likely to chat with a well- presented employee or one who is shabby and indifferent?
An office party can be a great time to further relationships at the workplace. If used widely to connect with the right people it may the best things that ever happened to your career.
Excerpts from Mid Day