The unofficial guide to unofficial office party etiquette

Here, TeamTactics gives us their unofficial guide to unofficial office party ethics and etiquette.

In terms of work events, this is arguably the most important in your diary. However, every year we hear stories of disastrous office party nightmares – with some workers bending the rules a little too much.

At times such lapses in behaviour might result in the walk of shame the next Monday morning – but it’s certainly not unheard of for more severe consequences to occur. It’s for this reason that some companies have opted for a safer, and probably more productive approach, with corporate hospitality by Team Tactics being one such idea.

If your company has opted for the traditional package and alcohol will be flowing, here are some of the unofficial rules that you should stick by to keep on the right side of everyone with an ounce of importance.

First of all… make sure you turn up

You might not get on with your colleagues – but they probably think the same about you. If they make it to the office party and you are absent, it doesn’t send out a healthy message to the important bosses.
Like it or not, there are some politics here. If you decide not to go, people will notice and there might be occasions (unless you have an almightily good excuse) that your commitment will be questioned.

Prep your guest appropriately

If it’s the type of the event involving a plus one, there are even more rules to follow. Make sure that you prep your significant other in all the right matters; with this ranging from the dress code right the way through to the conversation topics. In relation to the latter, it should go without saying that they shouldn’t bring up any stories that weren’t meant to leave the office walls.

If they can’t be trusted with this, whether it’s because of drink or other reasons, consider leaving them at home. It’s not worth the risk.

Drink responsibly

Without attempting to sound like an advert, this is another piece of advice that will hopefully be par for the course. While you are more than in your rights to have a few drinks and loosen up – getting drunk is certainly out of the question.

Therefore, if you are going to touch the sauce, make sure that you set a limit. If you see yourself going over this, stop before it’s too late. Over the years there have been far too many stories of employees taking in too much with disastrous consequences at these events.

Devise a talking plan

In truth, you could probably pen a whole dissertation about what to talk about and what to avoid. However, for the purposes of simplicity – let’s put a few rules out there. Firstly, the following topics should be avoided: sex, politics and religion. While you might be able to strike up decent conversation with some co-workers about these issues, with others it might be asking for trouble.

It means that you need something of a talking plan. Of course, if you are friendly with most people who are going there you can let things flow naturally. Usually, this isn’t the case though. Therefore, start to think of safe areas where you can turn to if things take a turn for the awkward. You may even need a few icebreakers – if you think the night as a whole could be a struggle.

Further reading on office party

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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