Among things that the end of the year brings are the many parties and celebrations. Office parties are usually among these. But unlike your usual party where you can dress half naked and drink until you drop, office parties are the kind where you enjoy the party but keep within certain boundaries. So, before you get your party shoes ready, here are some dos and don’ts to help you through. Evelyne Kyomugisha, a human capital consultant, advises that you be yourself. She says some people think they have to be too careful since they will be in the company of their colleagues and bosses.
Stick to dresscode
The current party trends are such that some parties have dress codes, colour themes or costumes.
“Find out if there is a dress code or colour for your office party, because you do not want to be the odd man out.
“So, dress accordingly. But even where there is no dress code, you have to mind what you wear to your office party,” Kyomugisha notes.
She adds: “Don’t be too smart for the occasion, unless it is clearly a red-carpet dinner. But again, don’t be too indecent. Stick to casual clothes that will give you both an easy look and a little touch of elegance,” she says.
Don’t solicit for pay raise
“There is nothing more annoying than a person who uses the office party to solicit a pay raise, a promotion, or a job opportunity. It is simply not right, so don’t take that lane. Simply network with the different people at the party by trying to know them a little bit better through light talk,” Kyomugisha advises.
No work-related discussions
Additionally, as you associate and talk with colleagues, keep it simple. “As you network, don’t bombard people with work talk, or the current project you are working on with all its technicalities. Leave the serious work discussion for the office meeting. So, unless one asks you about work, mainly keep it around social talk,” Nicholas Mulumba, CEO, Clear solutions advises, adding: “But again, don’t overdo it. Don’t try to be funny or to impress. Just be yourself but also give others a chance to talk instead of just talking them down.
Finally, participate in what is going on. If you have games, competitions, group activities, participate, even though it might not necessarily be your thing. “These parties are usually held to engage people in non-work related activities so that they get to know each other better, so don’t keep with your clique and friends alone. Participate in activities with others and you will know them better,” Mulumba notes.
“It totally doesn’t make any sense attending an office party but keep on your phone or digital device all the time. So, yes, we know that you like your phone, but keep away from it,” Patience Namuli, a banker, notes. She adds that is not only disrespectful to others but shows disinterest.
Don’t keep to yourself
In the same vain, Namuli adds that being a loner at the party is not cool. “Make it easy for your colleagues to socialise with you, so reach out to people. Don’t stay in your own cocoon. At least keep around a friend or a colleague you feel free with instead of being alone.”
Move with cash
Kyomugisha notes that some officeparties are usually held in evenings and are bound to end late in the night.“Sometimes, the organisers can provide transport to the venue, but don’t droff off. So, if you don’t have your own car or you didn’t move with it, or if you cannot drive because you have been drinking, organise for transport means early enough,” she advises, adding: “Let a colleague know you will be moving with them if they have a car, have data or airtime to order for a cab or boda boda but more importantly, have cash on you in case something comes up.”
Don’t be a nuisance
Finally, the grand rule for everyone is; don’t be a nuisance. “Whether dancing, talking, joking, or drinking. Whereas you may be bent on having fun, keep it minimal, because your colleagues and employers are taking notes,” says Kyomugisha.
How to keep out work chats at the office party
No work remindersThe first person/ people to set a party mood are the party organisers/ boss or superiors. Make it clear that people are here to party, loosen up and not to think about work. Even when one has deadlines, or unfinished work, do not remind them at the party
It is sometimes tempting because what most of you have in common is work, and thus, it is easy to slip into work conversation. To keep away from this, employ light talk about family, hobbies, passions outside work, what the other person likes about the party, their best movie or artist. You will be surprised at how much you will talk.
Talk to people you don’t know
If there are new people at the party, try talking to these because it is very likely you won’t have a lot of work related talk to have as you will spend most of the time trying to know them better.
Make it clear that you don’t want work talk
Be open about what you are there to do - which is enjoying the party. So, do not entertain any deep discussions about a case you are still working on or that report on your desk. Of course do this with respect.
By Nicholas Mulumba,CEO, Clear solutions