May 21, 2013
They're not just company picnics, they're business events
The days are getting longer in Seattle, and your company has scheduled a picnic for employees and their families this summer. You're thinking about hot dogs, apple pie, baseball and relaxing with your colleagues.
Many people don't think twice about how they should act at company functions such as a summer picnic. However, anything company-sponsored means it's a business event -- and that means workplace etiquette applies.
As Karen Burns reminded readers about workplace holiday parties back in December, "Your boss will be there. Maybe your boss's boss. Not to mention the folks you deal with all day, every day. Which, sadly, makes it not a party but a 'business function.'"
The same holds true for summer picnics. How you act during company events can help or hinder your career. To ensure that your reputation remains untarnished after the company picnic or other casual gathering, consider the following:
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. At least dress appropriately, given the location and activities involved. While you don't have to show up wearing a suit, you should look 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 outing will include a sporting event (for example, a Mariners game), do a little research on the team so you'll be able to easily chat with others.
Thank the employee organizers. While you're there, seek out those who organized the event and personally thank them. Tell them something you or your family specifically enjoyed.
Let your guard down. This is a business function, after all. Avoid gossip and negative comments, and don't get sloppy in your conversations.
Bring your dog. Leave Fido at home and focus on your family and colleagues.
Drink too much. If alcohol is served, limit yourself to one drink. It's a family (G-rated) event, so keep a clear head.
Get overly friendly. And don't make inappropriate comments to co-workers or management.
Forget to let your manager see you. Make sure that your boss and any other key people see you in attendance.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
- career profile (169)
- cool jobs (74)
- education and training (63)
- entry level (70)
- etiquette (108)
- events (71)
- featured (442)
- finding your passion (98)
- health care (76)
- interviewing (91)
- job fairs (61)
- management (96)
- market trends (92)
- networking (286)
- resumes (103)
- salary (85)
- social media (94)
- technology (118)
- unemployment (57)
- work/life balance (93)