Holiday Etiquette at the Office
Office politics and etiquette can be difficult to get used to when you first join the working world. And just when you think you’re getting the hang of it, the holiday season typically throws some more curves your way. If you wonder what proper holiday etiquette for the office is, you’re not alone.
Should you give your boss a gift?
It’s totally up to you! However, you may want to first ask colleagues about gift giving policies and traditions if you’re new in the office. If you do decide to give your boss a gift, don’t stress about it. Here are some simple tips to follow:
- Don’t spend a lot of money – your boss makes more money than you do which means it’s totally acceptable that what you give costs less than what you might receive in return.
- Be thoughtful – find something that is a good fit with what you know about your boss. Opt for a book if you notice that your boss likes to read the latest novel or business guide. Movie tickets are generally a welcome gift, or you can give a desk calendar, coffee, or food basket if you’d like to be extra safe.
- Stay away from anything questionable – if you have to ask yourself if a gift could be perceived as negative, inappropriate, “brown-nosing”, or immature, you most certainly should not be giving this item to your supervisor. You should also avoid gag gifts at the office.
Should you attend the company holiday party?
Of course! Always go to your company’s holiday party unless you have a scheduled appointment you cannot reschedule. Approach the holiday party as an opportunity to socialize with co-workers, but remember that it’s still work!
The holiday party is a good way to network with members of your company that you don’t work with on a day-to-day basis. Strive for a balanced conversation – it’s great to discuss business, but make sure you spend some time getting to know your co-workers better. Networking is all about connecting via commonalities, and the holiday party is a great venue to make some connections you may be able to re-visit in the future.
Above all, don’t get drunk. Your co-workers will re-hash events of the party the following Monday at work, and you don’t want to be known as the party-goer who passed out on the bathroom floor or hit on the senior vice-president.
What else do the holidays bring to the office?
Donating to charities can be a great way to bond with your team at work. If there aren’t already holiday service activities lined up, volunteer to kick off a group effort. Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army offer programs in many cities, but you could also do a quick search in your neighborhood for worthy charities. You do a great thing for those in need, plus you get the opportunity to plan an event in your office (which is another great way to network!)
By: Gale Bowman
After graduating from Notre Dame, Gale realized that young professionals need a source of reliable information as they face “real world” challenges. Gale manages WhatCollegeForgot.com and is pursuing an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.