Attending An Office End Of Year Party? Dos & Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Many of us will digress from our usual series of interviews, filing paperwork, attending meetings and meeting deadlines among others and talk about the end-year office party.

Attending An Office End Of Year Party? Dos & Don'ts To Keep In Mind
Employees raising a glass during an end of year office party. /GETTY IMAGES

Invite us to your office parties. Like seriously, we are fun to hang around with and form lasting connections.

By now, many companies in Kenya and around the world are entering the office party season towards the end of the year as either they have held one, holding one or planning to hold one soon.

Many of us will digress from our usual series of interviews, filing paperwork, attending meetings and meeting deadlines among others and talk about the end-year office party.

As you are reading this, most companies are planning to treat their staff to an end-of-year party this week or next week. Office parties are a chance for you to have fun and network with colleagues as well as other professionals in your industry or the corporate industry at large.

Google throws an annual holiday party for its associates in India in 2014. /EVENTFAQS

However, this is not any ordinary party where one can just let loose anyhow.  Attending an office party requires a delicate balance between enjoying yourself and maintaining a professional demeanour.

Viral Tea takes a look at some dos and don'ts to keep in mind:


RSVP (Respond If You Please)

Respond to the invitation on time, indicating whether you'll be attending. While some companies restrict invitations to those within the company, others allow you to bring a friend or two, but it is best advised to let the company know in advance.

Check the invitation to see if guests are allowed. If not specified, ask the organizers in advance rather than assuming it's acceptable to bring someone along.

Dress appropriately

Follow the dress code specified for the event. If there's no specific dress code, opt for professional and polished attire. Find out what everyone is wearing to the party and match it to your outfit.

You don’t want people talking about what you wore weeks or months after the party, which can be fodder for office gossip into the new year.

As for the ladies, you don’t want to dress seductively as it is still a business event. Revealing clothing is not appropriate around your superiors. Think beyond the event to the image you would like your co-workers to retain of you in the next year.

Arrive on time

Be punctual, and if you're running late, let someone know. Avoid arriving too early as well, remember, this is an office party.

Arriving late, however, is not an option and could have you missing out on all the fun. Arriving on time allows you to say hello to everyone and also passes a positive message about you.

Make sure you attend the party as failing to make an appearance at an event you have been invited to is considered to be rude. However, if for some reason you are unable to attend the party, inform the planning committee in advance.

Mingle and Socialize

Even if you’re shy, try to step outside your comfort zone and get to know your colleagues and clients better. There are few times when everyone will be as relaxed and receptive.

Instead of sticking like glue to your ‘work spouse’, be brave and make an effort to mingle with as many guests as possible. You never know what friendships or new opportunities might come from flexing your networking muscle.

The end-of-year party also allows you to mingle with your leaders, peers and line managers on ‘level ground’. While it may feel informal, it is not the time to speak informally to management about it. If you have been trying to have a meeting or call with the CEO for months with no luck, this is an opportunity for you to talk to her/him for a few minutes.

The end-of-year party is also an excellent opportunity to cement relationships and to get known in a good way. Talk to your co-workers and bosses about work issues in a positive and complimentary light.  Focus on achievements for the year and fun things you remember.

Be sure to acknowledge all your co-workers, and especially your superiors and their associates. Even if there’s someone you don’t like, it’s best to have a quick chat with them.

Business people sharing a glass of champagne. /OFFICE HEROES LEAGUE

Build Rapport

Strive to build a positive rapport with your workmates. The end-of-year party presents you with an opportunity to get to know your co-workers in a more relaxed environment, which in turn can help you build effective working relationships when you return to work.

You may find out that Wanjiru from accounting (whom you don’t like) is not that difficult to deal with after all! Besides, an office party also offers a great way to relax.

However, moderation is important. Remember this is a professional event and getting wild and crazy may not be in your best interest.

Also, participate in activities, meaning you can join in on any organized activities or games. It's a chance to bond with your colleagues in a more relaxed setting.

Moderate alcohol consumption

This is one rule that Kenyans everywhere are fond of breaking. Yes, the drinks may be paid for by the company but by all means, remain sober. Alcohol lowers your inhibition and it blocks out that inner voice that helps you decide not to do the wrong thing.

The end-of-year office party is not the place to try what you have never done before – from drinks to food. Stick to your usual beer and ‘nyama choma’ if you have to. Well, maybe there will be no ‘nyama choma’ but the point is, do not try out drinks/ food that you have never tasted before. This will save you from many embarrassing moments.

It is easier to make nasty comments about your colleagues or even your boss/supervisor that you may not have said while drunk. So, always drink in moderation and always make sure you have eaten before taking any alcohol.

Note: Do not drink and drive.

Thank the organizers

If your office party is organized by a specific team or individuals, express your gratitude for their efforts in putting the event together. Just like an event, organising an office party is tough work.

Express appreciation, especially if your colleagues or superiors have supported or helped you during the year.

Lastly, follow up: After the party, consider sending a thank-you email to the organizers or colleagues you interacted with, expressing your gratitude and sharing positive feedback.


Declare your romantic intentions

Before you declare your unbreakable love for Joan from Accounting, remember that you will have to see this person at work on Monday.

Take a reality check by asking yourself: Do I fancy them? How much have I had to drink? Will I regret this in the morning? If you fail the reality check, which you probably will, then under no circumstances should you make your move.

When it comes to dancing, keep it formal. Do not touch people in ways that can be misinterpreted, or say things that are considered demeaning or sexually provocative.

Be boring & gossip

Your work party is the perfect opportunity to down tools and have some well-earned fun after a long year. So try not to spend the whole party discussing office politics.

Like you, your colleagues, staff and clients will have a life outside of the 9-to-5 grind. Exercise your curiosity and ask about their families, hobbies and interests. You might just find you have something in common besides a talent for crafting PowerPoint presentations or publishing news stories in record time.

Also, avoid negative conversations about colleagues or work-related issues. Keep the tone positive and light-hearted.

In light of gossip, avoid oversharing personal information. While it's good to be friendly, avoid disclosing overly personal details that might make others uncomfortable and in some cases, use it against you.

A good rule of thumb for office parties (and life in general)? If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.

Isolate yourself

Make an effort to socialize with colleagues, even if you're naturally more reserved. Avoid spending the entire event in isolation.

Addicted to your phone? Sorry, but it is anti-social and disrespectful to your workmates to spend the night glued to your phone. Resist the urge to scroll, or worse – upload overly ‘festive’ photos to social media, by turning your phone off and keeping it somewhere safe until it’s time to order your Uber.

Leave too early

Leaving the party too soon may give the impression that you're not interested in being part of the team or celebrating with your colleagues. Stay for a reasonable amount of time, at least until any official proceedings, games and award ceremonies have concluded.

If you don’t want to be crowned the office party animal, quietly leave when the going’s still good. This implies you leave when you’re still having fun, but before you make any bad decisions.

Be too reckless

As stated above, keep in mind that this is a professional event and getting wild and crazy may not be in your best interest, especially in this era of smartphones.

You do not want a photo/video of a ‘drunk you’ dancing to Rema's Calm Down on top of a table while hurling insults at your boss/supervisor going viral on social media. Your reputation or career will never recover from this and you might lose your job, worse yet, if you are a guest, this could ruin future opportunities for you.

Imagine the embarrassment you would feel if you walked into an interview and the interviewer said, “You look familiar…I remember you from somewhere….uh huh…aren’t you the drunk guy from XYZ Ltd’s office party?”

Setting for an end-of-year office party. /SGM EVENTS