Although our present economy has caused many companies to scale back on celebratory events, there are still a few opportunities for fellow employees to gather. One typical company-sponsored event is the Christmas party. Another might be a charitable fundraiser. Whatever the event may be, when you are gathering together with co-workers from your office there are many ways you can add to the event and, likewise, bring it down.
A sure fire way to put everyone in a bad mood is to complain. Sitting down to a meal and pointing out that the chicken is rubbery or the cheap wine does not enhance the atmosphere. Everyone is there to (hopefully) have a good time. If you are going to nominate yourself as the one who underlines how poor the service is, how slow someone is reacting to your needs or just belittle something, you are brining down the mood of everyone within earshot of you.
Making fun of another’s efforts is a terrible thing to do. But when it comes to the workplace environment, many will put down someone in the hope of elevating oneself. If you honestly think that you can benefit by pointing out someone’s shortfalls you are sorely mistaken. If you are attending an event where a fellow co-worker went out of their way to ensure that others have a good time, it doesn’t matter if their efforts fall completely flat. Your job as a co-worker who is a gracious team player is to emphasize the positive in everything. If you can’t be supportive in a celebratory event, your attitude is screaming that in a crisis you are going to prove useless.
Again, in an effort to make oneself look good, many people will attempt to diminish another’s credibility. Some will question their authority. Others will put them down. Still others will accuse. When attending an event, conversations should be positive. It doesn’t have to be work-related. If talk veers toward politics, however, you should not put someone on the spot by questioning or making fun of their views. Singling out someone or making light of their convictions heightens emotions but does not properly season a topic.
Typically a gathering will offer alcohol. If this is the case and you chose to imbibe, do so with care. If you tend to be overly giggly or slur your words after one drink, opt for a full meal and water with lime. There’s nothing endearing about a drunk co-worker at an office event.
Finally, if this event takes place where your company is expected to clean up before you leave, be sure to show some team spirit and help. When the team gathers and works together to clean up, morale goes up. When just two (typically the ones who planned the event) are stuck picking up after you and your co-workers, positive feelings tend to evade. If you linger to the end, offer a hand. And offer it willingly. Don’t cross your arms while exhaling loudly and say, “can I help?” Either be specific or ask for specifics. Say something like, “What can I do to help?” or do you want me to start consolidating all these serving trays?” You can clear a table, help load a car or wash a few dishes. It won’t hurt and typically everyone who rallies to help ends up increasing the camaraderie and sometimes winds down for a drink somewhere.
Work relations can be trying. Strained is a common adjective used to describe strangers who are forced to spend a large amount of time in the same place together. If you are fortunate enough to work at a company where you can get to know a few people a little better, make the most of the opportunity by not just attending but really participating.