Modern Etiquette: Essential tips for the office party

Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:07am EST
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By Pamela Eyring

(Reuters) - According to the 25th annual survey of corporate America’s holiday party plans, 96 percent of U.S. companies will host holiday parties this year, the highest percentage since 1997. Alcohol will be served at 72 percent of holiday parties and nearly a third of employees will behave badly.

If you don’t want your name to appear on the office naughty list, it’s important to put a plan in place beforehand to avoid being embarrassed. By taking a few precautions and exercising good judgment, you can confidently return to the office on Monday with your head held high and your reputation unscathed.

Here’s what I recommend:

- Eat before you go. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster.

- Drink in extreme moderation or not at all. Start with a club soda to get full and drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.

- Hold your drink in your left hand. This keeps your right hand free (and dry) for shaking hands.

- Dress appropriately. The operative word in office party is office. You are mingling with your colleagues and your boss so avoid looking like you’re going to a club. If you're not sure what to wear, ask beforehand.

- Avoid messy, greasy hors d'oeuvres. Choose foods you can eat with a fork or a toothpick so your hands and clothes stay clean.   Continued...

Spring breakers dance during a party at a bar in Cancun March 28, 2010. REUTERS/Gerardo Garcia