Softball, burgers straight from the grill, dips in the pool... with summer in full bloom, your boss may invite you and your family over for a relaxed barbeque, or there may be a company-sponsored picnic where families are invited. Company picnics and barbeques can be a great way to unwind this summer. Not only are they fun for the family, but they also present opportunities to socialize and bond with your co-workers outside the stuffy confines of the office. Still, this relaxed attitude shouldn't extend to your manners. A faux pas at a casual outing can still negatively impact how your boss and colleagues see you. Keep your image intact by adhering to these etiquette rules:
Don't Underdress. Nobody expects you to turn up to a company picnic in a suit or pantyhose, but that doesn't mean you should turn up looking like you just rolled out of bed. Steer clear of sloppy sweats, holey or worn tees, denim cutoffs or anything inappropriate, such as a busty halter top or short-shorts. For men, jeans and a polo (or a plain tee and cargo shorts) are fine, while women can opt for a tasteful sundress or knee-length day shorts and a cotton tee.
Be Neat While You Eat. Bad dining manners can be a big turnoff. Avoid overloading your plate and only go back for seconds once everyone has had a chance to serve themselves. Don't double dip when helping yourself to salsa or dips, and don't chew with your mouth open or try to carry on a conversation with a mouthful of food.
Clean Up. Pick up after yourself and throw your trash away as soon as you're done. Use napkins, but don't take a whole stack and then throw half of them away. And if your kids are present, keep an eye on them so you can clean up any spills right away.
Back Off the Booze. Watch your alcohol intake. A couple of beers is fine, but doing keg stands isn't going to do you any favors in the image department.
Pitch In. Offer to bring something (a dish, a cooler, baseball equipment) to the cookout. It will help you be viewed as a team player. Also, be sure to thank the host or event committee for their hard work and hospitality.
Leave the Drama Behind. If you have a work-related issue with a colleague, now is not the time to bring it up. Today is about having fun and leaving office tension behind. Likewise, don't corner your boss and ask about work matters. Save it for Monday!
A company picnic should be an opportunity to have fun while revealing yourself as a team player-don't let any etiquette slip-ups sabotage you!