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The Company Holiday Party is Back—Should You Attend?

Did you get an invitation to your company's holiday party? Are you going?

The event may look different this year.

“While last year's parties were almost exclusively virtual, declining coronavirus cases, rising vaccination rates and the arrival of COVID-19 booster shots are allowing for more in-person experiences” this year, especially at smaller employers, reports SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management. “However, to keep employees safe, some organizations are keeping their events completely virtual, while others are inventing new ways to mark the season.”

Whether in-person or virtual, holiday parties are a priority in 2021, says Erica Sklarek, Assistant Director of Sales for the Glasshouses, an event space in New York City. Employees are craving a long-awaited release, and they deserve it—and company leadership wants to acknowledge all their staff has accomplished in the difficult face of the pandemic. “Leaders want to honor their employees for sticking it out and surviving 2020, and to boost morale,” she says. “They are looking to bring everybody together in some way, shape or form.”

Because companies don’t know who’s comfortable and who will be vaccinated, some will be offering a hybrid event.

This Year: Celebrate

Traditionally, hosting a company holiday party is one way management shows employees appreciation for all their hard work during the year. It gives managers an opportunity to recognize achievements and can be a morale booster. Celebrating the season with work colleagues helps to reinforce the company's culture and can be a reminder of why you chose to work there.

Whether you’ve been to your share of company parties in your career or you’re a new hire and it’s your first time, it’s helpful to review some quick tips for celebrating with your work colleagues and manager:

If your company holiday party is virtual

  • Join the party from a quieter area of the house, and check the internet connection. Be sure it’s strong.
  • Five or ten minutes before the party starts, log on, find the meeting link, test your camera, microphone, and internet speed, and make sure you are ready to go. Have the contact info handy for urgent technical support.
  • Tempting as it may be, multitasking prevents you from fully enjoying the event. When your attention is elsewhere, you are not present with your colleagues.
  • Interact in chat and breakout rooms--the chat box and breakout rooms can simulate small group dynamics that make traditional parties intimate.

If your company holiday party is in-person

(generally these tips apply also to virtual parties):

  • Respond to the invitation promptly.
  • If leadership asks for volunteers to help, VOLUNTEER! You'll get to know more people.
  • Show up if you indicated that you will be attending—it’s polite.
  • Introduce yourself to colleagues in other departments and company leaders.
  • Talk to people! If you connect, follow up later, even if it's only with a LinkedIn invite.
  • Don't overshare on social media. In fact, put your phone away!
  • Thank the organizers for putting together the party.

Our advice to you: Whether you’re invited to a virtual, in-person or hybrid. gathering, go! You work hard and deserve this opportunity to celebrate with your colleagues and leadership. Follow these simple guidelines and have fun!

Happy Holidays!