15 Office Holiday Party Etiquette Tips

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.


‘Tis the season for office holiday parties, which can be fun and festive if everyone is on their best behavior — or disastrous when too many people decide to let loose.


Unfortunately, the latter happens far too often.


“People need to remember that although the holiday party is a time to celebrate, this activity is still a business event and how you behave matters,” says Barbara Pachter, an etiquette expert and the author of “The Essentials of Business Etiquette.”


“People have said and done all sorts of inappropriate things that have impacted their career by not following simple etiquette rules,” she adds. “For example, it is important to stay sober. One young man got drunk at his holiday party, cursed out his boss, and got fired on the spot. The next day he couldn’t understand why his badge didn’t work. He had no recollection of the previous evening’s events.”


According to a new CareerBuilder survey, a whopping 69% of employers say they’ll throw a holiday party this year. If your company is one of them and you want to keep your job and reputation intact, here are some simple etiquette rules to follow:


Don’t skip it

Unless you already have other plans that night that you absolutely cannot miss or change, show up to the office holiday party.


“You may not want to go,” says Pachter, but it’s important that you show your commitment to the company.


“Your absence will be noticed, and most likely, noted by your boss and other higher ups,” she adds.


Don’t be the first to leave

Obviously someone has to be the first to leave. But for the same reason that you shouldn’t skip the holiday party altogether — it’s good for your career to show your face — you should avoid being the first one saying their goodbyes.



Don’t dress inappropriately


The party may not take place during traditional work hours — but that doesn’t mean you should dress like you’re going to a nightclub.


You should wear clothing you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear to work, but, since it’s a special occasion, it’s fine to take it up one notch — just don’t go over the top.


“It is a party, but your attire needs to be suitable for a business event, not a nightclub. Don’t wear anything that is too short, too tight, too low, or too anything,” advises Pachter.


Also, if you normally wear a suit to work, don’t show up to the office party in jeans and a T-shirt — or a Hello Kitty onesie.


Don’t forget to prepare your guest or significant other

Many times significant others are included or you’re allowed to bring a guest.


Let them know about appropriate dress and topics of conversation to stay away from, says Pachter. Also, make sure your guest follows all the rules: “His or her behavior will reflect on you.”



Don’t be antisocial

Even if you despise your coworkers — hopefully you don’t, but if you do, it might be time to assess your situation — or if you’re new and don’t know many people, don’t sit in a corner alone or keep your eyes glued to your phone the whole night.


“Schmooze,” Pachter suggests. “Talk to people you know and don’t know. The party is an opportunity to meet people. Don’t spend your time tweeting or texting. Make sure you mingle.”



Don’t look bored

Watch your body language. Appearing bored or like you’d rather be anywhere else is just as bad as not showing up.


“Don’t frown, slouch, cross arms, or yawn. You never know who might be observing you,” she says.



Don’t get drunk

This is an important rule — yet so many people fail to follow it.


“You don’t have to drink, but if you do, stay sober,” says Pachter. “It’s easy to do something outrageous when you have had too much to drink.”


She suggests setting a limit for yourself before going to the party and sticking to it. “It is much easier to limit your intake that way,” she says. “Or, order a drink you don’t like and sip it slowly all night.”


Don’t forget to eat

Sometimes employees skip the food and head straight to the bar because they’re excited to drink with their colleagues, or they assume the catered hors d’oeuvres aren’t worth the calories.


If you do decide to drink alcohol — even if you limit yourself to one glass or two glasses of wine — it’s important that you eat something.



Don’t gossip or bad mouth your colleagues


When you speak to colleagues, keep the conversation upbeat and positive.


Complaining about the company or your boss will bring the mood down, and gossiping about coworkers can get you into trouble.


It’s easy to do all of the above when you’ve been drinking — so be careful.


Don’t drone on about work

While maybe your holiday party takes place at the office this year, and at the very least it involves a bunch of people you work with, it’s the last place you should be talking shop.


Save your project updates for the Monday meeting.



Don’t go in without a plan

A good way to avoid defaulting to gossip or work talk is having a “talking plan.” As Voltaire said, “One always speaks badly when one has nothing to say.”


If you’re hoping to chat with a new coworker, think of a few icebreaker questions you can ask.


Did you decide ahead of time not to drink? Know what you want to say when people ask you “Why not?” Or perhaps you’re planning to chat with the CEO. Think of a few smart conversation starters.


“Don’t just talk business. Be up-to-date on current events and happenings in your community. Read the newspaper, your online news sites, news magazines, company publications, and your professional journals,” Pachter says.


Don’t flirt


This is not the time to hit on your boss, or his spouse.


Sometimes liquid courage gets the best of us — so stay away from alcohol if you don’t think you can control yourself while under the influence.



Don’t make a fool of yourself

Some people forget that the office holiday party is a work-related event and completely cut loose.


It’s OK to have fun and celebrate the season — but use your head and think about the consequences of your actions.


Hot sauce shooting contests are inadvisable. And maybe save your saucy rendition of “Santa, Baby” for karaoke with friends — or just your significant other.


Don’t post photos or comments that could get you in trouble

Avoid posting negative comments to social media about how “lame” the party was, or how much the food “sucked.” Also, do not post photos of your colleagues taking shots or engaging in other inappropriate behavior.


Don’t forget to acknowledge those who planned the party


Make sure you say “goodbye” and “thank you” to the host or party organizers, says Pachter.


If you’re not sure who was involved, or you don’t see them at the party, follow up with an email the next day.





Article Via: BusinessInsider.com

22 Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

Even if your workplace is cool with Halloween costumes, it can become a little tricky to find something totally work-appropriate. A face full of fake blood or dressed head-to-toe as a wedge of cheese might be sort of distracting at that 3pm board meeting. If you’re struggling to come up with a Halloween idea that’s both creative and SFW, these costumes are sure to do the trick.

HR Vampire

1. Vampire: Forget the gory makeup and blood capsules — all you need is a large cape, widow’s peak, teeth and some black lipstick. (via Brit + Co)

HR Bat

2. Bat: Keeping the costume minimal for the workplace is always a good idea. They’re probably still expecting you to get stuff done, after all. All this costume calls for is an all-black ensemble with a sewn-in cape. (via Again We Say Rejoice)

HR Aquarium

3. Aquarium: Hey, moms-to-be, get a little creative this year and head to the office as an aquarium. The costume itself is super easy to make, so you can get back to the important things, like, you know, growing a tiny human. (via Brit + Co)


HR Awkward Picture

4. Awkward School Photo: Halloween doesn’t fall on a #TBT this year, but you can still take a stroll down awkward memory lane as a throwback version of yourself. (via Jessica Hische)


HR Cruella

6. Cruella de Vil: Channel this classic Disney villain with an oversized coat, red vintage flats and some seriously wicked eye makeup. (via @101dal__)


HR Cat Woman

7. Catwoman: This HR-approved ensemble is tame but fierce. Okay, maybe (definitely) leave the whip at home. (via Brit + Co)


HR Ice Cream

8. Ice Cream Cone: Head to the thrift store for a white dress (think: lots of tulle), add the sprinkles and a cone hat and voila! This is kind of the cutest costume ever, and it’s totally perfect for the office. (via Treasures and Travels)


HR Cat

9. Purrfect Black Cat: Cats are always a safe option for the workplace, and this costume is way better than just a couple of painted on whiskers and a tail. Pick your favorite statement necklace and jazz up this Halloween costume staple. (via Brit + Co)

HR KAte Middleton

10. Kate Middleton: This spot-on interpretation of Princess Kate is a great choice for the workplace. And there are tons of A+ Princess Kate looks to inspire. (via @awesomejaymee)


Hhr Sugar Cookie

11. Pink Sugar Cookie: If you haven’t tried these sugary angels yet, you’d better head to the store ASAP. They’re totally worthy of their own (office-safe) Halloween costume. (via A Joyful Riot)


HHr Dorothy

12. Dorothy, The Wizard Of Oz: If you have a pet-friendly office, we highly encourage you to bring your own Toto to work. (via The Joy Of Fashion)


HR Mary Kate Ashley

13. Mary-Kate and Ashley: These costumes call for a serious dive into your local vintage store. (via Brit + Co)


Hr Mime

14. Mime: This Halloween, put your striped shirt and black denim to good use. The best part? You have an excuse not to talk to that co-worker who you kind of can’t stand. (via Brit + Co)


HR Queen Of Hearts

15. Queen Of Hearts: This makeup look calls for items that are probably already in your makeup bag. Just grab a deck of playing cards and get snipping! (via Brit + Co)



16. Hamburglar: With this costume, you’ll definitely be asked to head out on the office takeout run for lunch. (via What I Wore)


Hhr Rosie

17. Rosie the Riveter: This timeless tough girl always makes for a great costume. (via Brit + Co)

18. Fred Flinstone: Just put some shoes on, please.


19. Bill Lumbergh: Yeah, that’d be great.

Image result for men office halloween

20. Where’s Waldo: Perfect for hipster Tim in IT.

21. Forrest Gump


22. Wayne’s World




What will you be for Office Halloween? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook Page.

Real Men Wear Pink

Our Commander in Paper, BT Tynes, and his two brothers have joined a group of dedicated and distinguished community leaders who are determined to raise awareness and funds to support the American Cancer Society in saving lives from breast cancer. By being candidates of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign here in Birmingham, the Tynes are making a meaningful impact on a cause that touches us all and having some fun while doing it.

Three Brothers Don Pink to Support Their Sister

From left, Ingram, Bayard and Norman Tynes.


Cary Wahlheim was able to win her battle against breast cancer with the support of doctors, procedures and her three big brothers.

Norman, Bayard and Ingram Tynes are all participants in this year’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign.

“Cary is the fourth child with three older brothers,” Norman Tynes said, “We all flocked to her. We are a close-knit family.”

According to Tynes, Wahlheim’s cancer was caught early enough that after a radical procedure, she hasn’t needed further treatment. But he knows this isn’t always the case and he wants to help change that.

“Once you are affected by it, you wake up and realize how prevalent it is,” he said, “We’ve just got to find a way to make it less prevalent.”

That’s why, along with his brothers, Tynes will don a little bit of pink every day in October.

“We’ve been buying up pink stuff and T-shirts. We are really trying to spread the word by talking with friends, family and colleagues,” he said.

Tynes wants to raise as much money as he can for the American Cancer Society, an organization he trusts and admires.

“Their persistence and high profile in our community with galas and the golf tournament is impressive,” he said, “They are great at explaining how the money is spent and I think they appoint the dollars appropriately toward beating the disease.”

The Real Men Wear Pink campaign is directed at engaging men in the breast cancer fight, but Tynes is invested in fighting many types of cancer, cancers other relatives have battled such as prostate and ovarian cancer.

While he said he isn’t one to work just for a trophy, Tynes said he plans to have fun raising money and looks forward to some friendly competition.


article via: Sarah Kuper, Over the Mountain Journal


You can support the Tynes’ Real Men Wear Pink effort by visiting www.realmenbham.com to make a donation or by sharing this blog post with the hashtag #RealMenBham.

Fall is All About the Layers

Want to get a jump on next spring? Plant a little cardboard this fall. Cardboard and paper are economical, sustainable and easy tools to use this fall while prepping for your springtime garden.

For neophyte gardeners, a simple layer of cardboard might be enough. According to garden writer Stacy Tornio, writing for the website BirdsandBlooms.com, this can be done by laying a cardboard template on the ground in autumn where you want your flower bed to be. Wet the cardboard thoroughly and layer with more soil, compost or mulch. Come spring, you will have a rich and ready bed.

For gardeners who have a little more patience, maybe it’s time to try some lasagna – as in the “lasagna method,” also known as layering. In lasagna gardens, organic material are layered on top of the land and no tilling is necessary.

It was a method “borne of frustration,” according to author and gardener Patricia Lanza. In an article for Mother Earth News, she writes, “I began to think about a garden built on top of the sod, requiring none of the traditional preparation: no lifting the sod, no digging or tilling, just neat layers of organic ingredients left to decompose over the winter …”

One of the most important layers is cardboard — and it can be laid out in whatever pattern you want.

“I laid cardboard on the paths,” Lanza says, “and covered the cardboard with bark chips. I then covered the garden spaces with thick layers of wet newspaper, overlapping the ends, and covered the paper with one to two inches of peat moss. Then I laid a three- to four-inch layer of dried grass clippings over the peat moss and added another one or two inches of peat moss. I continued to alternate layers of waste material and peat moss. Midway through, it struck me that the peat moss was akin to the cheese layer in a real lasagna.”

There are several sites you can check out to help in the construction of your lasagna garden, including herehere and here. And if you need extra cardboard, with the popularity of online shopping and monthly subscription boxes, you are sure to find a friend or two who can help out.


article via: howlifeunfolds.com 

Building the Office of the Future

Building the office of the future

What does the office of the future look like?

This is a question many enterprises are asking themselves as they attempt to reshape and reinvent their workplaces for a technology-oriented future. With most of today’s offices designed for a vanishing era, where workstations, cubicles and corner offices dominated, the move has real implications for employee satisfaction, productivity and company culture.

With this in mind, here are some megatrends that will define the offices of tomorrow.

A lot more like home

Numerous studies have shown that people are more engaged and productive if they can choose how they work. That means the office of the future is going to look a lot less like a traditional office and more like home, or at least like a hybrid of the two. Commercial architects will place more emphasis on natural light, ergonomics and functional furniture that you might expect to see in residential settings.

Rest, work, play

The office of the future is all about creating flexible, collaborative workspaces suitable for a range of functions – not just work. Say goodbye to generic cookie-cutter workstations and conventional meeting rooms, and make way for open spaces for work, rest and play. Office interiors need to be rethought, with areas designed with particular activities in mind. The goal is to create an atmosphere that promotes conversation, encourages collaboration and inspires innovation.

Tech savvy

Millennials, or #GenMobile, will dominate the office of the future, so workplaces need to meet their needs and expectations. They are fun loving, tech savvy and expect a connected, flexible (hot-desking) and collaborative working environment. They also want the ability to work from anywhere without restriction, so office technology should facilitate this. Video conferencing capabilities that enable communication across a global workforce are another must, as are high-performance mobile networks and an all-wireless workplace.

The branded workplace

How an office looks and feels also has a direct impact on the way employees perform, which is why forward-thinking businesses need to focus on internal branding. Workplace branding shapes the design and aesthetics of the work environment, with the goal of fostering a positive workplace culture. This branding should reflect the organization’s cultural values, with a strong emphasis on employee needs.

The upside of this evolution in office design is that staff are more likely to perform at the top of their game, so organizations will ultimately benefit.


Thought-Provoking Facts on Paper, Forests and Recycling

1. Forest area in the U.S. increased by 5,800 NFL football fields per day between 2007 and 2012.[1]

2. The volume of wood (trees!) on U.S. timberland increased by the equivalent of 159 Empire State Buildings per year between 2007 and 2012.[2]

3. In 2015, the U.S. recovered enough paper (for recycling) to fill 125 Empire State Buildings.[3]

4. From 2005 to 2015, U.S. forests stored the equivalent in carbon to taking 137 million cars off the road each year.[4]





























[1] Forest area grew by 14 million acres between 2007 (752 million acres) and 2012 (766 million acres) (USDA Forest Service, 2014). A full football field including the end zones is 360 ft by 160 ft or 1.32 acres (http://www.sportsknowhow.com/football/field-dimensions/nfl-football-field-dimensions.html). Forest area grew by 10.6 million football fields (14 million acres of forest area/1.32 acres in a field) in five years = 2.1 million per year = 5,811 football field per day.

[2] Net volume growing stock on timberland in the U.S. grew from 942,949 to 972,397 million ft3 between 2007 and 2012 (USDA Forest Service, 2014) – an increase of 29,448 million ft3 = 5,890 million ft3 per year = 16 million ft3 per day. The volume of the Empire State Building is 37 million ft3 (http://www.esbnyc.com/sites/default/files/esb_fact_sheet_4_9_14_4.pdf )

[3] Recycling one ton of paper saves 3.3 cubic yards (89.1 cubic feet) of landfill space (http://www.isri.org/docs/default-source/commodities/fact-sheet—paper.pdf ). Empire State Building = 37 million ft3 (its space saves 415,264 tons of paper). Paper recovery data was obtained from www.paperrecycles.org .

[4] A conventional gas vehicle in the U.S. emits 2,720 lbs of carbon (10,000 lbs of CO2 eq. per year) (https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/420f08024.pdf ). There are 2204.62 lbs/metric tonne therefore an average car emits 1.23 metric tonne of carbon/y. Between 2005 and 2015, carbon stock in the forest rose from 87,271 to 88,961 million MT of carbon – an increase of 1,690 million MT over 10 years or 169 million MT/y (equivalent to 137 million cars) (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-04/documents/us-ghg-inventory-2016-main-text.pdf – Table 6-12)

Article via: http://www.twosidesna.org

Meet the Team – Kara Crook

Meet Kara! Our newest, wonderful sales representative based out of our location down south: Mobile. This lady has been with us for one year and one week, and is constantly driving all over the coast and the panhandle of Florida searching for opportunities and solutions to help her customers’ businesses run efficiently.

I was able to catch up with our youngster and pick her brain about what in the world she did before working for Strickland and what it means to bring innovative, fresh thinking to a billion year old paper house.

EM: So Kara, I heard you have a family. Would you bring them with you if you were stranded on a middle-of-nowhere island?

Kara: No. Although my family is very close and we love spending time at the beach, their competitive card games would be the end of me. I’d bring my dog Bear as a companion, a fire starter kit, an umbrella and a boat.

EM: Boats! Yes. You recently graduated from the University of South Alabama, way to go! How does it feel being an adult and knowing that your mom will never iron your clothes again?

Kara: No one irons anymore, that’s why the dryer was invented. I will miss eating her spaghetti often.

EM: I’ve heard that people around your age think they know everything. Is there anything you don’t know and would like to learn?

Kara: Learning a new language would be nice. I’d like to learn Italian so I could travel there and be able to communicate easily with the locals.

EM: I bet they’ll teach you to make spaghetti- if you ask nicely in Italian. I heard you singing in the car the other day and will skip the question about having a favorite karaoke song, as I’m not sure if they’d allow you on stage. Do you prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

Kara: Stones

EM: Hm. I’ve enjoyed having a coworker who brings innovative, fresh ideas to this industry. Besides confusing the older people with Excel functions, what motivates you to work hard?

Kara: Watching my name climb the sales charts has been inspiring, but helping new customers set up programs that will truly benefit them keeps me in the game.

Thanks for keeping us young, Kara!

Disconnect to Reconnect and Productivity Suckers

It’s 5 o’clock and you want to staple your face to the wall when you notice your coworkers shimmy off to happy hour- without you. YOU can’t leave the office because YOU can’t get your work done. There’s been a productivity sucker hovering around your desk for the past 2 weeks and you’re having trouble resetting your mush-mind.




Calm down. The way I see it is there’s two reasons for you missing out on prime martini time- you’re doing something wrong, and you’re not doing something right. Wait, is that one thing? Whatever- you need to change your working habits, and at one point or another we all need a little work-ish overhaul.

I’ll admit to being a marching mush-minded employee every now and then, but it’s been my ability to break through the battle of the busted brain and recapture my productivity that’s made the difference in my 5 o’clock happy hour attendance and termination avoidance.

This is the best I got- I give you my list of “Be Alive! Get Off at 5! Rules”:

  1. DO NOT get caught at the water cooler. This includes the interoffice phone- I’m looking at you ladies! Yes, it’s easy and fun to gossip your way to 5 o-clock, but come Friday your boss isn’t going to be looking for a report of “OMG did you see what Linda wore to the meeting yesterday”.
  2. DO NOT fuss around with the Lord of Productivity Loss- the smart phone. Go ahead- THROW YOUR PHONE IN THE TRASH. Or place it in the bottom drawer, whichever is appropriate. We look to our phones for an outlet of unrelated work stimulus during our “off time”, and when we do this our brains don’t get the chance to get bored- which stifles creativity.
  3. PLEASE DO split your day into sprints- take beaks! A well-timed burst of business followed  by a well-earned rest can do wonders for your productivity.
  4. ALWAYS make To-Do Lists! Consider them your Bible of Productivity. Make one right now- grab that over-sized Post-it note and MAKE A TO-DO LIST. They’re great organizers and have more often than not reminded me of back-of-the-brain, albeit important, tasks my boss has asked me to do.
  5. PLEASE DO set aside 10 minutes per hour to check your email. There’s a productivity plague going around corporate America- Email Obsessive Disorder. It’s real, y’all. It’s the latest extension of an OCD tick- you waste SO MUCH TIME compulsively checking to see if cute-new-Johnny-coworker-down-the-hall accepted your appointment invite to ‘tini Tuesday next week. Make reservations the last 10 minutes of every hour to check your email so you don’t miss even more important reservations after 5 o’clock.



Emily, Millennial and Marketing Girl Wonder

Myths and Facts: When it Comes to Paper, Some People Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Paper has been around for more than 2000 years, and for good reason. It’s a highly effective and versatile means of communication. Even in today’s digital age with the vast array of alternative media to choose from, paper’s unique aesthetic qualifies and practical appeal are unmatched.

Paper is highly sustainable, too. But as attention to the environment has increased in recent years, so have myths and misconceptions that the paper industry is responsible for large-scale deforestation and adverse impacts on the environment. As always, there are two sides to every debate, and paper has a great environmental story to tell.

Two Sides presents the facts about paper production, use and recycling to dispel the myths, promote well-informed, confident media buying decisions and encourage greater responsibility throughout the life of paper products.

To get the facts about the sustainability of Print and Paper click below:

MYTH: Making paper consumers a lot of energy.

FACT: Paper production supports sustainable forest management.

MYTH: Making paper is bad for the environment.

FACT: Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products.

MYTH: Electronic information is more environmentally friendly than print and paper.

FACT: Not necessarily. E-media also has environmental impacts.


For this article and other paper-truths visit www.twosidesna.org

Meet the Team- Jimmy Thomas

Hold on to your work trousers- this is the first installment of the “Meet the Team” blog series! At Strickland we think knowing who you do business with is not only important, but half the fun as well. So let’s make business worth doing! Read on for details and endearing facts about our man-with-the-facilities-cleaning-plan, Jimmy Thomas. 

Jimmy Thomas- Facilities Specialist

Jimmy Thomas- Facilities Specialist

EM: Jimmy, you’ve been in this industry longer than I’ve been alive- wow. Tell me about your life as the South’s top Facilities expert.

JT: I’ve been in the JanSan industry for almost 40 years. Prior coming to Strickland I worked for Johnson Wax (Diversey), then went to work for one of my Distributors. In my Strickland role my responsibility is to grow and develop our Facilities program by working directly with the sales force. My talents lie in tailoring specific cleaning plans and solutions to meet any customer’s need. 


EM: I hear you’re a family man. 

JT: I have been married for 39 years to Patti, we have 3 daughters, a son, and 3 grandchildren. When I’m not tinkering with cleaning solutions I like to work in the yard, exercise as I can, attend Auburn football games with my son and generally spend time with my family.


EM: Do you prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

JT: Beatles


EM: Correct answer- we can continue: I understand that you know everything there is to know about Facilities Solutions. As that is just one facet of life, please tell me something you would like to learn in another area.

JT: I would love to learn a musical instrument. It seems like is would be relaxing to just sit and play music.


EM: Well, it’s got to be better than watching Auburn football. What motivates you to work hard?

JT: My family- I have two children leaving for college in a year and a half. I do not hold out hope that Bernie will relieve me of college expenses. Also, helping my coworkers excel.


EM: Bernie, ok. What’s the worst gift you’ve ever recieved?

JT: A polka-dotted shirt- royal blue with yellow dots. In the seventies I thought it was hot.


EM: I suspect it was not. What was your first job? 

JT: I worked for  a contractor while in school. We did a lot of the work on Birmingham Green. Great job; was able to get a tan, get in shape and at best made $2.25 an hour with overtime. My first full-time job was with Alabama Paper and Metal Ware. Their warehouse was about a mile away from our current Strickland location. Ironically the owner of Alabama Paper and Mr. Elliott  were friends. Not only did we sell janitorial products we were a wholesale office supply distributor. I sold my first pen before most of our Strickland Team was born. 


There you have it, the first Meet the Team interview! Want to know Jimmy’s favorite cleaning solution or go-to Karaoke song? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll investigate further!

Till next time,

Emily Murphy, Marketing Girl Wonder