In a year where almost everything from the way we work to how we gather with friends has changed, our work holiday traditions will be no exception. So many of us, both employees and employers, have altered the way we interact with one another on a daily basis at work. Video conferences have become the new norm, and we can expect to see our holiday parties turn into cyber celebrations this year. But just because we’re toasting to a new year at home, doesn’t mean the rules are off the table. Below are a few tips on workplace etiquette to help ensure your virtual holiday party is still HR-friendly.
Remember Your Zoom Etiquette
If you’re using Zoom, change your settings to “Gallery View.” This option will let you see up to 20 coworkers at once, making it feel more like a holiday party. However, just because you’re not in a meeting doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. Don’t forget your Zoom etiquette like muting yourself when you aren’t speaking.
The Same Rules Apply
Despite being in the comfort of your own home, a virtual office party is still an office party. The same rules apply, and that includes keeping it professional and remaining cognizant of the laws against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace laws.
Don’t Drink Too Much:
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. While you may not have to drive home, too many martinis could end with you saying or doing something you may later regret. Consider not drinking at all or setting a two drink maximum just as you would at a traditional office celebration.
Think About Your Wardrobe:
Remember to keep your wardrobe work appropriate as well. If it’s an ugly sweater party, get festive but don’t wear something you wouldn’t normally wear to your office party in person, or something that would be offensive to others.
Make sure you know the dress code and follow it. If you’re allowed to include your significant other on the call, make sure they’re also dressed appropriately. While a virtual holiday party is a more laid back occasion, it’s still one attended by your coworkers and managers.
Don’t forget to RSVP. Be sure to respond to an invitation within a few days regardless of whether it comes via evite or email. The expectations of virtual office gatherings are not much different from traditional ones; failing to go may send a negative message and people will notice you’re not there.
Even if you can’t make it, it’s crucial you RSVP as early as possible and send your regrets.
At the end of the event, don’t forget to thank the host or hostess. Whether it’s your boss, coworker or your boss’ assistant, parties require a good amount of planning — even virtual ones — and the organizer will appreciate the gesture.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California company that represents the gold standard in dispute resolution. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual assault, and misconduct, hazing and bullying cases.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.