It’s holiday party season! The invitation to the office soiree is circulating and your colleagues are dusting off grandma’s cookie recipe for the office bake-off. You might be tempted to skip the office gathering—won’t it just be a hassle, full of awkward conversations with coworkers? That mentality could cause you to miss out on a valuable opportunity. Here are three ways to make your work party work for you:
1. Show your investment in your workplace. Employees who put in the bare minimum and then skip out at quitting time do not advance. Demonstrate your engagement with your organization by showing up for the office party in good spirits and with full attention. You do not need to stay for hours on end, but being fully present for an hour or two speaks volumes.
2. Connect with colleagues. The social setting of a party allows you to relate to your coworkers in a more relaxed environment. Enjoy the chance to catch up on the many things that get crowded out when deadlines are looming. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know your coworker’s partners and children.
3. Stay professional. The caution bears repeating: don’t overindulge. Hold yourself firmly to a two drink max. A more relaxed environment brings perks—and pitfalls. Never forget that this is a work function and anything you do has the potential to be an asset or liability for your career.