Office year-end functions are great. You get to relax with your colleagues outside professional spaces and come together as a team to celebrate and reflect on what the year has been. However, some people mistake such events as opportunities to neglect boundaries, to remove job titles and to interact with everyone in whatever manner they choose. Though it is important to socialise as much as possible in such spaces, it is also important not to forget that you are still with colleagues and managers.
If that first paragraph has made you second guess yourself and worry that you might do the wrong thing, fear not, I am here to save you from yourself. I have taken the liberty of compiling a list of do’s and don’ts so that you do make the most of your year-end function.
Do show gratitude
First and foremost, regardless of the format of the do, whether big or small, you are not entitled to it so proceed with good manners and show gratitude.
At the end of the day, it is impossible to please everyone. If what is done does not meet your standards, it doesn’t serve you in any way to communicate this. Don’t be fussy, and most importantly, do not complain. Nobody likes a whiner. Rather, recognize the effort put in by management to show their appreciation of you and your team and go out of your way to show appreciation.
Do your best to interact with others. No matter how you are feeling, do not be the heavy one in the group. The way you communicate can have an immediate impact on the group at large. I am aware that we are not all strong at small talk but try not to be a loner in the corner and have everyone wondering if they have said or done something to offend you. If you are reticent to engage with a group, find at least one person to talk to and make the most of the occasion.
You and your bosses are not equals – do not let alcohol convince you otherwise. Do not over-indulge in alcohol. If you do decide to drink, drink in a manner that you can maintain your dignity. Refrain from over-sharing, especially if you and your colleagues are not at that social level. You do not want to create unnecessary awkwardness in your office relationships afterwards. You don’t want to be that guy that everyone avoids being in the kitchen with around tea or lunch break. These are your colleagues, have fun, but don’t be a complete clown.
Don’t lose your respect
This one is the most important. There is something about engaging outside the office that makes people think that they can suddenly say anything and neglect everything they were cautious of in the workplace. Refrain from saying racially, culturally or sexually offensive things. Just because you are in a social space doesn’t mean you must stop being conscious of the effects of your words on others. Some people tend to mistake a casual atmosphere as an invitation for disrespect or lack of boundaries but that is not the case. You don’t want to be the person who people distance themselves from because you have offensive speech.
Do enjoy yourself
Enjoy a sense of celebrating a job well done, along with your colleagues, and finish the year with a smile on your face.
Written by Aseza Pupuma – Researcher at CA Financial Appointments – firstname.lastname@example.org