Businesses often plan a summer office party. It’s a great idea. Employees can get together outside the office environment, enjoy a summer day, and have a chance to relax away from the pressures of work. Office get-togethers are a great opportunity to enjoy down time with colleagues you are friendly with and they provide an opportunity to get to know colleagues you don’t interact with much at work.
Here are ten tips to help make attending a summer office get-together enjoyable and successful.
Know who is invited. Check with the organizer or host to make sure it is okay for you to bring your spouse or significant other and if children are included. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to have your children in tow only to find they are the only ones there.
What is the dress code? Just because it’s summer, don’t assume that there isn’t a dress code. Are cargo shorts and a t-shirt really okay? If the event is a cookout at a colleague’s or boss’s home, summer casual dress will probably be in order. But it is still important that the clothes be clean and in good repair. If the event is at a club, be sure to find out what the dress code is (jacket, jacket and tie perhaps) and then reflect that in your attire for the event.
Can you bring something? It is always a nice gesture to ask. If the event is a cookout at someone’s home, offer to bring a dish like a salad or dessert. The host or organizer will let you know what, if anything, to bring. Even if the answer is “No, thanks” the offer will be appreciated.
Alcohol or not? Remember, the event is associated with your office, and your actions at the party can reflect on you at work. You don’t want to say or do anything that would be cause for an apology the next day.
Don’t over eat. Of course the food should be enjoyed, and do enjoy your fair share. But remember, the event is primarily an opportunity to interact with colleagues. That should be your focus.
Introduce people who come with you. While you may know lots of people at the party, your spouse or significant other will appreciate being introduced and included in conversations.
Talk to a variety of people. The event is an opportunity for you to mingle, meet, and talk with a variety of people. Avoid the temptation to latch onto one or two friends for the entire event.
Don’t over stay your welcome. You don’t want to be the last person to leave. Keep an eye on the group and plan your exit when most of your colleagues are leaving.
Thank your host as you leave. As you get ready to leave, find your host and/or the organizer and thank them sincerely.
Write a thank-you note the next day. It’s an easy thing to do and will be appreciated.
If you have a business etiquette question, please email it to [email protected] You can hear more Emily Post etiquette advice on the Awesome Etiquette podcast featuring Lizzie Post and Dan Post Senning. Listen and subscribe at infiniteguest.org.
Post’s newest book, The Unwritten Rules of Golf, Morrow, is available at emilypost.com.
Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers’ questions in The Boston Sunday Globe’s weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of “The Etiquette Advantage in Business” and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book “Essential Manners For Men” was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of “Essential Manners for Couples,” “Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf,” and co-author of “A Wedding Like No Other.” Post is Emily Post’s great-grandson. His media appearances include “CBS Sunday Morning,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and “Fox News.” Follow Post: @PeterLPost.