5 no-nos for the office party

PHOTO: 5 no-nos for the office party

This is the season for merry-making and there is no shortage of festive spirit as office parties across Singapore get into full swing in the days leading up to Christmas.

But before you pick up that glass of champagne and get ready to boogie on the dance floor, bear in mind that while you can let your hair down this festive season, office-appropriate behaviour still applies.

Experts weigh in on five common offences at office parties:

Not showing upAccepting an invitation and not showing up is bad form.

While no-shows may have their own reasons for skipping the party, going back on a promise shows bosses and colleagues that an individual may be unreliable.

Ms Loo Mei Yee, general manager of Executive Coach International, said: "This reflects on work and interpersonal relationships in the office where trust and reliability are based on the achievement and completion of what you say to others you would do."

Her advice is - if you cannot make it to an event after promising to go, inform the organisers as soon as possible.

Dressing inappropriately

Dressing to impress does not mean wearing less.

Turning up in an outfit that is too short, too tight or too untidy means you run the risk of tarnishing the professional image you have built up among colleagues throughout the year.

Ms Yvonne Anjelina, director and chief etiquette coach of The Etiquette School Singapore, said unless a dress code is specified, women should ideally wear a cocktail dress no shorter than four to five inches above the knee.

She recommends that men stick to cocktail shirts or smart casual outfits.

Getting drunk

Having a tipple can help loosen you up but you do not want to imbibe too much and be remembered as the person who passes out in front of the senior management team at the end-of-year office party.

Ms Loo added: "If encouraged by more enthusiastic colleagues to go past that personal boundary, decline politely and leave the alcohol alone."

Flirting with a colleague

Office Christmas parties may offer the perfect opportunity to meet people from the office you may not have had a chance to interact with.

But if you are harbouring any romantic intentions, experts say this is not the time or place to engage in such activities.

On the other hand, if you find yourself the subject of unwelcome advances, avoid your colleague and stay with groups of other colleagues.

"If the flirt is too aggressive, politely let him know that you are uncomfortable with such advances and, if need be, excuse yourself to another part of the room and mingle with others," said Ms Loo.

Not networking

Not everyone is comfortable with large crowds, but Ms Anjelina said keeping to yourself means you will miss out on potential opportunities like job openings or new projects that may arise when mingling with colleagues outside of your department.

"It always helps, in terms of getting things done promptly, when you are working with friends versus colleagues."