The holiday season can be one that is fun in the workplace. However, while gatherings, gifting, and celebrations can boost morale, social events with co-workers should be handled with care.
The attitude of your company can affect how you celebrate the holidays in the office. Is the mood light and laid-back or more formal? Do you deal with external customers on a daily basis? It is important to keep a few things in mind when planning how you will dress, decorate your desk or even talk about the holiday season at work.
- Be respectful of different religious views. Much of the holiday season, from Hanukkah to Christmas, is steeped in religion and it can be easy to offend co-workers unintentionally.
- Keep holiday dress to a minimum on a day-to-day basis. While a holiday-themed sweater is great for a party, it could violate the office dress code. Avoid items that make noise, such as jingle bell socks, because they can be distracting.
- While workplace decorations are commonplace, keep them simple and unobtrusive. Avoid items that move or make noise as people walk by. Don’t allow decorations to invade on the workspace of another person.
- Your holiday celebration is only appropriate if it does not make other workers uncomfortable and does not get in the way of getting your job done.
Food and Drink
Most offices are filled with holiday food and drink from the end of November until the new year. While most workers will appreciate the sentiment of sharing, be careful not to over-share. Only bring edibles that were made for the office – no leftovers from other events – and don’t bring a new treat every day.
Gifts and the Workplace
Workplace gift-giving can be tricky. Do you give everyone a gift or just friends? As a rule of thumb, keep gifts out of the work environment unless you are participating in a company-sponsored gift exchange. Easy and inexpensive gift exchanges such as Secret Santa, Yankee Swap and White Elephant can be a fun way to interact and have fun with co-workers. Most of these types of gift-giving activities have a limit to how much each person can spend on gifts and can be really fun. Make sure to invite every employee to participate, but keep participation optional.
One of the most fun – and potentially awkward – events can be the office holiday party. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you have a good time and don’t embarrass yourself.
- Dress appropriately. Maintain the same rules of modesty at a holiday party that you would during a normal workday.
- Stick to a two-drink maximum. While a drink or two is generally acceptable, getting tipsy or intoxicated is not. Be cordial and mingle with coworkers. This is a great time to get to know your co-workers!
- Make guests comfortable. If the office party is open to guests, stay with whoever you invite. Remember he or she probably won’t know anyone. Bring gifts only if they are expected.
- Don’t overextend your stay and thank the host. The time frame for office holiday parties can vary but be mindful of the host’s time and the possibility that the next day could be a workday. Stop in, grab a bit of food, mingle, thank the host and be on your way.