A workplace is typically a place of serious tone and ample productivity. Sure, you like your boss, you have coworkers who you occasionally have lunch with, travel with, or go out for drinks after work with, but generally speaking, work is a place for business, not fun. Then the company Christmas party rolls around. Company Christmas parties are the things of legends. How many tales have you heard about Dave from accounting stumbling into the office Christmas tree and sending it crashing to the floor or Carol the secretary bringing down the house with her rendition of Santa Baby? These parties are tempting, but before you mark "yes" on your RSVP, there are party pros and cons to consider.
Pros of Attending the Company Christmas Party
There are a lot of benefits to making an appearance at your company's Christmas party. While plenty can go wrong, sometimes attending these types of functions include far more pros than cons.
Be a Part of Company Culture
Busy and productive employees sometimes forget that they joined a company because they thought it would be a great place to work, and they appreciated the company culture. Holiday parties are a time to remember why you started working at your place of business to begin with. These events can remind employees that they are a part of a fun, collaborative, creative, and intelligent group of people who enjoy one another and the company that they work for.
Connect With People You Normally Would Not
At some places of business, employees find that they interact with certain circles of people but don't have much connection with all teams and individuals. A company holiday party puts everyone together, regardless of which department they work in. Holiday parties or other company functions can serve as a perfect time to get to know others in the company. If you don't have much access to your boss or the higher-ups, then make sure and introduce yourself and your role to them at the company party. Tell them how happy you are in your job and share a tiny bit about something exciting that you are currently working on.
You probably do your fair share of ice breakers and activities in staff meetings. These activities are meant to create comfort and bonding between employees. It can be hard to connect with coworkers while on the clock, even when good intentions are there. Parties held outside of the work environment can help coworkers bond and become more comfortable with each other. At these gatherings, attendees have time to find things they have in common, share funny work-related stories and experiences, and relax in each other's presence.
Cons of Attending the Company Christmas Party
Company Christmas parties can be a riot, but they are not always fun once the party is over. If you don't temper your actions and behaviors, you could wake up with a wicked hangover and a boatload of anxiety about clocking into the office come Monday morning.
Caught in Cliques
The hope of holiday work gatherings is that everyone will mix, mingle, and get to know each other more deeply, no matter their role in the company. When people feel connected, understood, and cared about, they generally have better performances at work. Mingling with people who you don't know well can be uncomfortable. Because of this, groups of co-workers can choose to stick to what they know, only socializing with employees they recognize from their primary work roles or personal lives. When everyone decides to do this, the company Christmas party starts to feel like a clicky high school gathering, and then it is no fun nor beneficial to anyone.
Letting too Loose
The holidays make everyone want to kick back and relax, and some people take the concept of letting loose too far. The Christmas party is a place for a couple of cocktails, smiles, and laughs, but it is not a place to party like a rockstar. Keep the drinking at bay and behave yourself! Alcohol can create situations where people say and do things that they usually would not do, and the last place you want this occurring at is at a company party where your boss is nearby. Remember, Monday morning will eventually roll around, and if you tie one on, you'll have to answer for your decisions.
Talking too Much Work
There will undoubtedly be some work chatter at a company Christmas party. After all, work is something that all of you have in common, so it makes for easy conversation. Don't spend the entire evening talking shop. There will be party-goers whose primary goal of the night is to escape the pressures of work, not discuss them late into the evening. Think of other conversation starters to use when engaging with colleagues.
To Skip or Not to Skip
If you are on the fence about skipping the company Christmas party, think about the pitfalls of passing on it. There are cons to attending these soirees, but there are also pitfalls to skipping them. Know the possible cons to skipping work functions before making a final decision.
- You might be left out of fun conversations following the party.
- People may perceive you as not a team player or uninterested in the company's culture.
- You could be seen as ungrateful for not bothering to show up to a party that people worked hard to put on.
- If you are a senior in the company or high up in the company, skipping a holiday party could make you appear uninterested in your employees personally.
- You may miss opportunities. Even though parties occur outside of the office, connections and contacts often happen at events and places outside the work walls.
Office Party Ettiquette
If you have decided what the pros outweigh the cons, and you are indeed attending this year's holiday work bash, then know some simple etiquette tips that will ensure you leave with your good reputation intact.
- Keep libations to a minimum. Remember, you have to face these people come Monday morning.
- Dress for the occasion. You can push the envelope with outfits considering the event is being held outside of work hours, and it is the season to all that sparkles, but be somewhat practical in your dress.
- Know if you get a "plus one." Before you invite a significant other, make sure it is allowed by your company.
- Keep an eye on the time. If you are not keen on attending but think it still benefits you to make an appearance, be sure to arrive at a decent time. Don't show up right before the party ends just so you can say you attended. On the flip side, leave at a reasonable time. Don't be the last man standing.
- Thank the right people. Find out who was involved in putting on the bash and make sure to thank them for their work.
Make the Decision That Is Right for You
Like all decisions in life, only you know if something is a good decision or a wrong decision. When deciding whether to attend a company Christmas party or any work function, go with your gut feelings. If you find that you are on the fence about your decision, then make a list of pros and cons. Give some headspace to what could go wrong and what could go right. Try not to be swayed by the decisions of co-workers. Make the choice that feels right for you.