Office politics, despite its often negative reputation, is an important part of company life, and never more so than at the annual Christmas party. Managing office politics is all about being aware of various workplace relationships, methods of communication and leveraging that to be influential.
As so many of us are working increasingly long hours, and with Christmas preparations looming, adding extra time to the end of a long week with social events can feel like more of a burden than a benefit.
However, Christmas drinks can provide a great opportunity to network and get to know your colleagues outside your regular environment. This can help foster stronger professional relationships, and can help you work more efficiently through an increased understanding of the different personalities in the office.
Here is your guide to effective Christmas networking that builds relationships and further develops your career.
networking and social occasions – how to do it right:
expand your network.
Use your office Christmas party to break the ice with anyone who you haven’t worked closely with in the past year. There is much neutral common ground – such as Christmas and summer holiday plans – which can be discussed between colleagues, no matter what their position within the business.
keep it professional.
The key is to be diplomatic and respectful at all times - maintain good sense, try to avoid gossip and whatever you do - don’t get personal. No matter how close you become with certain colleagues or how relaxed your Christmas party is, it’s important to remember you are still in a working environment.
present yourself well.
Dress appropriately for the occasion – you might be off-duty but that doesn’t mean you want to jeopardise all the good work you have done throughout the year with an inappropriate attire. Remember to think beyond the event and the image you’d like your colleagues to retain of you for months to come.
Arrive on time. Don’t be the person that everyone is waiting on, ‘fashionably late’ doesn’t apply on this occasion.
broaden your horizonssubmit your cv
don’t do what you wouldn’t do in the office.
The office party presents many positive opportunities, but it is vital to remember your behaviour at the Christmas party doesn’t go unnoticed - so don’t act inappropriately as it can impact the way your manager and colleagues perceive you at the office the next day.
limit your alcohol.
While it might seem obvious when you don’t have a drink in hand, drunken behaviour will stir gossip and could impede your career progression, so it’s best to keep a good balance - make the effort to go along to your work Christmas function, have a laugh and meet new colleagues, but don’t take it too far.
be covid conscious.
Finally, while the Christmas party is a time to relax and celebrate with your colleagues, you also need to remember that we are still in a Covid environment. A good tip is to be sure you are Covid free before attending the Christmas party. Do a Rapid Antigen Test if you’re unsure and stay home if you feel unwell. As much as you would like to celebrate the festive season with your colleagues, you don’t want to be remembered as the person who gave everyone Covid at the Christmas party.