10 Essential Holiday Office Survival Tips

ugly_xWith the holiday season now officially in full swing, it’s time to navigate the sea of office parties, Secret Santas, potlucks and vendor gift baskets.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but only if you follow these 10 holiday office survival tips.

1. Don’t horde vendor gift baskets. – You can’t keep all of the chocolate for yourself and just leave that bottle of “fancy” mustard for the rest of the office. Even though that sweet gift basket may be addressed to you, it’s really meant for everyone. Sharing is caring.

2. Respect the mailroom. – Yes, online shopping is awesome, but don’t abuse the mailroom. It’s not their job to bring you five packages from Amazon every other day. If you must take advantage of them, maybe show your appreciation with some of the best stuff from one of those gift baskets.

3. Put your eatin’ pants on. – The holidays are filled with potlucks, cookie exchanges, the aforementioned vendor gift baskets and all sorts of other tasty goodies. In order to effectively indulge in all of these treats, you’re probably going to need to invest in some elastic waistband pants or work-appropriate yoga pants. And no, you can’t expense them.

4. Handle your Secret Santa duties with care. – Here’s the deal with Secret Santa in a nutshell: Don’t be too cheap, too extravagant or too creepy. Your best strategy is to give small gift cards. A $5 or $10 coffee or restaurant gift card is the universally appropriate gift.

5. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl” at the office potluck. – There are some “grumpy pants” ways to survive a potluck, but why would you ever want to socialize with that person? Here’s my failproof potluck tip: The amount of cheesy potatoes consumed at any potluck will be equal to the amount of cheesy potatoes served at said potluck. When in doubt, make cheesy potatoes. They’re easy and everybody loves them. Done.

6. Know your holiday party rules. – There are tons of articles out there about how to handle your office holiday party. Basically, you should drink, but not too much. You should talk about work, but not too much. You shouldn’t leave too early, but you shouldn’t be the last one at the party. Really, it’s all about moderation. As adults, we should already know this. So I’m going to tell you about the holiday party rule you may not know: If you’re the highest ranking person at the party, it’s your job to buy drinks. After no more than two rounds of drinks, you should leave. Then it’s the next-highest ranking person’s job to buy, and so on and so on until the only people left are very, very happy interns.

7. Be nice.Apparently Americans “despise” having to be nice during the holidays. While we may all want to Scrooge it up, in the long run, much like that Dickensian hero, we know that the key to a better, happier holiday is to help others. Consider getting together with co-workers to adopt a family or buy something from a giving tree.

8. Keep it down. – Not everyone needs to hear “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” or “Silent Night” three times a day for the month of December. If you want to listen to holiday music 24/7, keep your headphones handy. The only exception to this rule is Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, which is so awesome that you can turn your computer speakers up to 11 when you play it.

9. Don’t forget to actually work. With productivity diving in December, consider working from home if you need to escape distracted coworkers and crazy holiday activities.

10. Beware the ugly sweater trap – Much like asking someone if they’re pregnant, make SURE that your office is actually having an ugly sweater event before you compliment a coworker on their great ugly sweater. They could just have terrible taste in “festive” attire.

What strategies do you use to survive the holidays at work?

About Kris Prusynski

Kris works on the Commercial Marketing team at TDS Telecom and helps TDS achieve their online objectives through digital marketing and website optimization. She has worked in the digital marketing space for over 15 years, in product categories as diverse as shoes, banking, beds and pig farming supplies (really!). Kris has both undergraduate degrees and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and therefore bleeds Badger red. She’s a veteran blogger on topics ranging from digital marketing to Wisconsin fish frys to the sweet necessity of ugly office sweaters. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find her on Twitter or Google+ trying to decipher the mysteries of A Song of Ice and Fire. In her spare time, you can find Kris kayaking, hanging out at the dog park, or thinking about lawn care.

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