Proper Behavior at Work Functions
This article was written by Brad Wucher, Director of Marketing for Columbia College.
When it comes to proper behavior at a workplace social function, it could also come under the headline, "What the Heck Were You Thinking?!" While we all are aware of the stereotypical office party antics made famous by the likes of AMC's Madmen (the sixties looked awesome by the way), wearing a lampshade on your head could be considered appropriate if it's part of an organized game, but not if it's a signal you've had too much to drink.
Work, Parties and Work "Parties"
The most important thing to remember about any workplace social function is that it includes the word "WORK!" I doubt you would saunter into the office on a Monday morning with a cocktail in each hand; why would you do it at the office party on a Saturday night? In fact, the misnomer is even calling it a party. When it comes to anything work-related, there should be no mistaking it for a party. Sure, work can be fun, and hanging out with your coworkers on- or off-site is a great way to get to know them, but if the company is paying for it, organized it, is connected with it, it's still the workplace.
"What's the point in reading the rest of this article if it has already turned out to be a major buzzkill?" you may ask. Well, because making a mistake at a workplace social function can have far-reaching consequences that could end with you losing your job — or worse. How's that for a buzzkill?
Seriously though, because any similar event is connected with work, so are all the rules that come with work, especially since you have a responsibility to act in a manner free of discrimination, harassment and bullying. The ultimate hangover from any party, work or otherwise, is claims of harassment and discrimination. If you did something at a party that now has a lawyer involved, you may want to reexamine some of your choices.
However, not all of the responsibility falls on you as an attendee of the event. The company has a responsibility as well to make sure food is available if alcohol is being served, and to provide options for you to get home safely in the event you had a couple of drinks. In fact, if you plan on drinking at the event, don't drive — period. "I didn't know how to use the Uber app" will be no excuse if you find yourself walking a straight line on the side of the road bathed in the glow of flashing blue and red lights.
So when it comes to proper behavior at workplace functions, just remember that it is still work. Using common sense with a good recall of office policy should guide you safely through any office get together.
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