Your boss put together a great holiday celebration for the staff with good food, entertainment and even alcohol; everyone was expected to have fun, right? You remember having loads of fun at the office party, but the idea of seeing your co-workers the next day is terrifying. There might be an embarrassing moment or two that you are hoping no one was sober enough to remember.
Office parties are meant to encourage you to interact with co-workers in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, but these are still people you have to work with in a professional manner. At what point does fun become inappropriate? And is there any way you can undo what never should have been done in the first place?
The proper mindset will help you while attending the office blowout. Even if you are reluctant to attend, think positively; this is an opportunity to mingle and socialize with your co-workers in a different atmosphere. Networking is conducive to office team spirit and communication. Be sure to eat solid food either before or at the party -- especially before imbibing in any alcohol. Drinking is not a necessity, but don't make a scene about it either way. If you do consume alcohol, do so in moderation; adding sparkling water to wine will make the drink go further without creating a buzz. Remember to stagger alcohol, food and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the event.
While attendance at an office party is not mandatory, it is a good political move to attend. Just in case you really don't want to be there, have a designated excuse for leaving early or arrange to have a friend call you. This way, you have made an appearance and greeted your co-workers. Unless the party is taking place immediately after work and everyone is still in normal business attire, find out the expected dress code. Dress the way you want your business associates to view you, and avoid overly sexual or ultra-conservative clothing. Do not dress too casually, and definitely never look sloppy. However, wearing too much bling or high-end clothing may make a poor impression on the rest of the office, as well.
Even though the party may be filled with laughter and chatter, it's still a good idea to defer to your higher-ups, especially in conversations involving office policy or business-related trends. Your conversation should never be confrontational, even with co-workers in equal or lesser positions. And never use alcohol as an excuse to rip into policies or voice strong opinions about other staff members.
If you see that one of your co-workers appears to have overindulged and is misbehaving, make sure that individual gets out of the party and home safely. If you have to take him home, don't tell people about it. Protect his dignity as you would want your dignity protected. If you have a close and trusted co-worker, you might want to coordinate a buddy system.
If you are permitted to bring a guest to the party, remember that you are responsible for their behavior as well as your own. This is not the time for your spouse to complain about your long hours monopolizing family time. Your guest represents you as an extension, so make sure he or she is dressed appropriately, as well. Arrive on time. Even though it's a party, treat it like your day-to-day business, where punctuality is always important. No matter whether your company has a fraternization policy or not, an office party is not where you want to be caught in any compromising positions.