Many people don’t think twice about how they should act at company-sponsored events, such as a summer picnic. But according to a Seattle Times article by Janet H. Cho, “Anything that starts with ‘company’ first -- ‘company picnic,’ ‘company barbecue,’ ‘company baseball game’ -- means this is a business event” and workplace rules apply.
In the article, Cho provides advice for attending company-sponsored events. Not everyone may agree with the advice, but it’s good to at least consider your strategy and behavior before attending events. Here’s a summarized list of Dos and Don’ts from the article:
- Let your guard down
- Drink too much
- Get sloppy in your conversations
- Get overly friendly or make inappropriate comments to co-workers
- Gring your dog (and only bring your children if it’s requested or if your boss has kids; don’t bring your spouse “if your spouse has no social graces”)
- Attend the event. Management will see your attendance and may view the event as “team building”
- Dress to impress. This doesn’t mean show up to a picnic wearing a suit, but it does mean look polished and “take your cues from your boss,” not your co-workers
- Enjoy the event and come prepared. For example, if it’s a sporting event, do some research on the sport, learn how the team is doing, and be able to briefly talk about the subject
- Bring enough food for people to share if it's a potluck
Reading this article reminded me of an episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, where Elaine Benes gets drunk at an office party and proceeds to dance horribly and embarrass herself in front of her boss and co-workers. How you act during company-sponsored events can definitely help or hinder your career. Bottom line: Treat all company-sponsored events as business events and act appropriately.