The sun is finally shining brightly and you’ve just been told that your employer has scheduled a picnic for employees and their families. You’re thinking about hot dogs, apple pie, baseball and finally getting to relax with your colleagues.
Many people don’t think twice about how they should act at company events, such as a spring or summer picnic. News flash: It’s not just a company picnic – it’s a “business” event.
If you’ve never thought about it this way, then I’m sorry to be the one to break the news to you. But you need to know that anything company-sponsored means it’s a business event – and that means workplace etiquette applies.
How you act during these types of company events can help or hinder your career. To ensure your reputation remains untarnished after the company picnic, here are some helpful tips:
Attend the event: Think of it as an opportunity to network and get to know colleagues and employees from other departments in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Dress to impress: Or at least dress appropriately, given the location and activities involved. While you don’t have to show up wearing a suit, you should look casually polished. Take attire cues from management or HR, not co-workers.
Prepare your family: If you’ll be bringing your children and spouse or significant other, prepare them for the event and discuss appropriate behavior before you arrive.
Enjoy yourself: You can be on your best behavior and still have fun. If the picnic includes attending a sporting event (such as a local baseball game), do a little research on the team so you’ll be able to easily chat with others.
Thank the organizers: While you’re there, seek out those who organized the event and personally thank them. Share with them something that you or your family enjoyed about the event.
Let your guard down: This is a business event, after all. Your boss will be there, his or her boss will be there, and the executive management team will most likely be there as well as all of your colleagues. So avoid gossip and negative comments, and don’t get sloppy in your conversations – because you never know who might over hear.
Bring your dog: Leave Fido at home and focus on your family and co-workers.
Drink too much: If alcohol is served, limit yourself to one drink. It’s a family (G-rated) event, so keep a clear head. Which leads me to the next don’t…
Get overly friendly: Avoiding alcohol and keeping a clear head will help ensure you won’t cross any lines into inappropriate behavior territory.
Forget to let your manager see you: Make sure that your boss and any other key people see your attendance.
~ Lisa Quast, author of award-winning book, YOUR CAREER, YOUR WAY!. Join me on Twitter @careerwomaninc