5 Personas You Meet At Every Office Party (And How to Meet Their Needs!) | by Bansi Mehta | Dec, 2021


Office parties! Mediocre food, weird lighting, but most of all, the upturned dynamics. And added to that highly unstable mix is alcohol — what’s not to dread? But with how the last year went and the current year threatening to be a damp squib, it does feel like office parties are a relic of the past.

Since the mandated break in schedule has made our memories of office parties pretty rusty, we’re rounding up a list of typical personas you’d meet at these soirees. Sticking to our UX roots, we’re trying to make the exercise as pleasant and worthy for all involved. These party personas are here to help you navigate the intricate web that is the office party and emerge unscathed.

Never without a drink in hand, mouthing words to every song on the DJ’s playlist, interspersed with loud whooting. Sound familiar? No? Well, here’s another striking clue — they’re every introvert’s walking nightmare, pulling them out from the shadows and onto the dance floor. Beware, for even bosses aren’t spared.

Here is a person who lives and breathes to party, never mind if it’s in the office cafeteria serving flat beer in plastic cups with a side of cold mozzarella sticks. They’re actually harmless once you give in to their persuasion and flay your arms about on the dance floor for a minute or two.

But if you really want to look out for them, be the hero who waters down their drinks every now and then. You’ll be doing the whole office a big favor!

And now we’re onto the opposite end of the party animal spectrum where our workaholic is, hunched in the darkness, face illuminated from the light of their monitor, typing furiously. These are the (possibly unfortunate) beings who are saddled with meeting delivery deadlines in the holiday season.

Depending upon their nature and perspective, working during the office party is something they relish doing or are duty-bound to do — the only way to find out is by unleashing the above-mentioned party animal upon them. The result would be that they’d do their 2 minutes of mandatory arm flaying on the dance floor and then slide back to the dark warmth of their desk with a drink and some food in hand. Or, they might give in to their inner FOMO and dance the night away, deliveries be damned. Either way, they’d be taken care of!

The nervous newbie is your office’s typical newcomer, someone who is new to your office dynamics. They’re trying to figure out what to say and how to behave, and this can worsen if they happen to be of a shy disposition themselves. That said, you can also find the odd enthusiastic party person in this category as well. But despite their exuberance, they still remain new and probably lower down in the pecking order, which makes their needs common.

So, make them feel included! Strike a conversation, ask them about their favorite music and food, just do your bit to bring some holiday cheer. Remember — you were a fumbling newcomer at an office party once too!

This is an easy one to spot. Always going around armed with a (DSLR) camera, this person takes their social media duties a bit too seriously. Indulge them and you’ll see yourself featured on the company’s social pages in the best lighting, holding a sparkly drink strategically, in a very flattering pose. Rub them the wrong way and your pictures would be a meme template on the team’s Slack group for ages to come. So the ball’s pretty much in your court once you decide what is it that you wish to be in the coming year!

But all jokes aside, it’s easy to indulge them once you get past the fact that they’re just doing their job (a tad too seriously). You may want to attempt to separate them from their camera (not an easy task especially if it’s hung around their necks), and probably get them to enjoy the actual party for a bit.

Now on to the final persona of the party, the Influencer. As a sign of the times we’re in, every office, and therefore, every party is bound to have an influencer or two. This person is at the party with a mission in tow — that of leveraging the event on their social media accounts. To them, the world’s a stage and they’re the one and only star of the show.

The influenzaa is easy enough to spot — doe-eyed, tilted neck, with the neon-est of drinks in hand, pouting just in time for their live stories. They’re everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Pausing here to pose with someone, rearranging the food and drinks to perfect the aesthetic before a click, it isn’t easy to pin them down. But once you do, slickly ask them to put their phone away for just a bit and ask them to be present in the moment. You might get a glazed stare in return, but it’s definitely worth a try!

One last question before we wrap up — where do you see yourself among these office party personas? Let us know in the comments!

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