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Office parties scale back big time

But, lavish or low-key, the same rules apply if you're going to a work holiday gathering

by Dory Devlin  |  1649 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

With companies finding little to celebrate this year, end-of-year holiday celebrations are being dialed back in a big way. For some, the holiday party tradition will be skipped this year entirely.

Two annual surveys about company holiday parties found that a record number of companies have dropped employee celebrations this year, according to Workforce Management. Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the outplacement firm, surveyed 100 companies to find that 23 percent will not host a holiday party, compared with 10 percent last year.

It's been a tough year, so if and when you do get together with coworkers and bosses, tempting as it may be, it is not the time to let loose, throw back a few drinks and de-stress in plain view and in full vent mode. An office holiday party, big or small, is not really a party. It is a work function. I repeat: A work function.

Remember those words, because the same rules that have always applied for attending work gatherings apply this year, too. As a Yahoo! HotJobs article notes, there are some proven guidelines to follow to enjoy a gathering with coworkers without regretting your behavior the next day. Here, a few do's and don'ts:

1.) Moderation! Just because alcohol is being served (if it is) doesn't mean it's time to let loose. It's never a good idea to do that, but with every position up for review in these tough economic times, there couldn't be a worse time to lose it in front of managers and coworkers.

2.) Dress appropriately. What you wear to work may do just fine at an afterwork party. Pay attention to how the party invite is worded to glean what you should wear, though it is always a safe bet to leave provocative dresses home in the closet.

3.) Don't arrive too late, and don't be the last to leave. 

4.) Mingle. Don't just hang out with coworkers you always hang out with. Take the opportunity to talk to workers in other departments. And introduce yourself to higher-ups who you don't get a chance to meet face to face the rest of the year. Keep the exchange positive, and relatively short.

5.) Unless the invitation specifically says to invite spouses and significant others, don't bring yours. And don't ask to bring yours if it seems pretty clear it's an employee-only party.

6.) If possible, thank the people who organized the party.

Is your company having a holiday party this year?

About the Author

Dory Devlin is the Work+Money editor on Yahoo! Shine. Check out Shine Work+Money here.

Read more by Dory Devlin

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