Dos and Don’ts for Year-End Parties

Dos and Don’ts for Year-End Parties

By Nicollette Filippone – PHR, Senior Human Resources Manager

It’s the holiday season (whoop-de-do and hickory dock…) and one of the busiest times of the year if you happen to work in the restaurant business. Cocktail parties abound, festive dinners with friends and family are in full swing and there’s a warm, fuzzy feeling all around. But let’s not forget about that holiday institution, the year-end party. If you manage a restaurant or event space, you’ve probably hosted more than your fair share and born witness to countless evenings of forced fun and trainwreck behaviors. But what happens when it’s your turn? If you work in hospitality you probably know how to let your hair down, but go too wild and your holiday party indiscretions can be hard to remedy. That’s why we’ve put together a few dos and don’ts to help you strike that tricky balance between having fun and keeping your hard-earned reputation intact.

Do Accept the Invitation (or RSVP)

The year-end party is a great opportunity to network and be seen so accept the invitation if you possibly can. And since good manners cost nothing, if you say you’re going to go, be sure to turn up. Even if you only put in an appearance for an hour, honour your commitment. If you’re unable to make it, let the organizers know within 48 hours so they can plan accordingly.

Do Eat, Drink and Be Merry (in Moderation)

Let’s face it, most year-end party disaster stories are fueled by too much festive spirit. Like the time when Janice from accounts hit the eggnog hard and surprised everyone with a seasonal striptease. It’s hard to come back from that kind of faux pas. Our advice is to keep it classy, eat sensibly (no hogging the buffet) and stick to one or two alcoholic beverages. If the temptation of an open bar is too much to resist then be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the evening.  

Dos and Don’ts for Year-End Parties San Diego Accounting Services

Do Dress for the Occasion

It’s the holidays for heaven’s sake so have fun, but remember to keep your attire work appropriate. If your party is during office hours, stick to your office dress code policy but add some sparkle. Evening events are more relaxed but it’s still a good idea to avoid anything super clingy or skimpy (that goes for you too, guys). Enjoy picking out your wardrobe, just don’t go overboard.  

Do Thank the Organizers

You’re a hospitality pro so you know how much work goes into organizing any event. As you would with any other party, remember to thank your hosts. That includes the most senior person in the room, the planners and support staff. They’ll feel appreciated and you’ll look good into the bargain.

Do Go To Work the Next Day

Calling in sick the day after a year-end party is a big no-no (unless you genuinely are sick, of course). Even if, in spite of our best efforts to guide you, you overindulge and wake up with a monumental hangover, make your best effort to get into the office.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

Closely related to our suggestion to demonstrate restraint when it comes to eating and drinking, it’s vital that you remember that the year-end party is a business function. You can only control yourself, after all, so even if your colleagues invite you to join them for shots, or that attractive coworker you’ve had your eye on is flirting with you, consider whether you might regret it in the morning. This is work, not time to attempt the lift from Dirty Dancing lift, which is more likely to end in tears. Or a trip to ER.

Dos and Don’ts for Year-End Parties San Diego Accounting Services

Don’t Indulge in Gossip

Avoid being that person who traps a colleague in a corner and drones on about how much you hate your job. The year-end party isn’t the place to vent about your colleagues, boss or clients–it’s going to get noticed and could easily come back to haunt you. You’re there to celebrate your successes over the last year and to bond with your team, so be armed with a few social icebreakers and keep conversations light and general.  

Don’t Flirt or Indulge in Inappropriate Behavior

This isn’t the time to hit on your boss. Or their spouse. Or anyone else from work, for that matter. Also, beware another issue that goes hand in hand with excessive drinking: the desire to overshare (anything from intimate photos to ‘honest’ feedback about a colleague’s performance). Just don’t. And even if the event is somewhat underwhelming, be professional. Don’t post negative comments on social media, and certainly avoid sharing images of coworkers engaging in inappropriate behavior.

Don’t Bring an Unexpected Guest

Make sure you know who can attend the event with you. Spouses and partners are often invited, but not always. Check in advance to avoid embarrassment. And definitely don’t bring a random friend on the night. When the event organizers have taken time to ensure there’s enough food and drink to go around, that’s just rude.

Don’t Overdo the Shop Talk

Since you work in the same industry you share plenty of common ground with coworkers. The temptation to talk business, particularly with someone you don’t know that well, can be strong. It’s fine to chat about it in small doses to get the conversation off the ground but be wary of being too intense. Nobody wants to discuss deadlines or challenging customers.

This is your chance to get to know your colleagues better and meet new contacts, so talk to as many people as you can and choose positive, lighthearted topics, such as travel, children, movies, etc.

Do Enjoy Yourself!

Managing a restaurant or hospitality business is hard work so you deserve to relax and enjoy your holiday party. One of the great benefits of working in the restaurant world is the camaraderie with coworkers, many of whom may be close personal friends. Having a good time is in your DNA, but by sticking to these golden rules you’ll be able to glide through the holiday season with a clear conscience and begin 2019 with an untarnished reputation.