Let’s Chat… Professionalism at Work Events!

Welcome back, everyone! Were excited to dive into a super timely and relevant article today as we know that many of you have engaged in pre, post, or during work-hour events where drinking is involved and coworkers are mingling! If you’re in the process of navigating these new waters, if this is a key part of your industry, or if you’re itching to get into a corporate event-filled space, keep reading below! We’ll detail what to expect from these events, expectations, and the best way to prepare yourself for ultimate professionalism and success!

Professionalism ‘Off the Clock’

The main focus of the below is guidance surrounding drinking behaviors in work environments. You may not be sitting in the office, but remember that you are still with coworkers and leadership, and should behave as if you were in a corporate setting. The key to these types of events is engaging with your limitations and making sure to have fun! So, identify your balance below and ensure that you won’t have to ever feel ‘work scaries’.

  • Mandatory? The begging question is, are these events mandatory?! The short answer is yes, and the long answer is no. Realistically, you cannot be forced to attend an event that occurs outside of your work obligations and hours. However, you should always prioritize engagement and participation in company events when able. These are special times, outside of work hours, when you are afforded to get to know your teammates and management on a personal level and avoid just work-related topics. So, when able, always try to go! However, if family, doctor, appointments, religious, or other obligations are getting in the way of a particular day or time, make sure to inform your management of the reason why you cannot attend and know that it will be accommodated.
  • Typical Duration/Length: You can expect to spend, on average, approximately 2-3 hours at work happy hours or after-hours corporate events. It takes at least 30 minutes to get situated in a new space, especially if you are leaving the office and venturing into a new environment. The next hour and so after is often unstructured and casual. So, if you’re engaging with a teammate or enjoying yourself, stay for longer! If you have plans after, are tired, or are struggling to maintain your social battery, make sure to stay for an appropriate amount of time, and then understand that you can leave. After all, you are dedicating additional hours to ‘work’ even if it doesn’t feel like it, and leadership knows that you have a personal life to get back to afterward.
  • Pairing Drinks with Food and Water! We’re all adults here, but it’s always worth reading the reminder that mixing a cocktail with an app and a glass of water is key to offsetting the effects of alcohol. You never want to find yourself in a situation where you are overly intoxicated around work peers, so balancing alcohol is crucial to your engagement and self-awareness at happy hours and events. If there isn’t going to be food at the event, make sure to pack a snack or eat a larger lunch. Additionally, while there is almost always water wherever you’ll be, packing an extra bottle never hurts! A 1:1 ratio of a drink and either a snack or glass of water is a great way to create balance and hold yourself accountable.
  • Steer Clear of Shots! On the same note, we highly encourage you to steer clear of shots and even ‘hard liquor’ when able. These types of drinks will undoubtedly have a more rapid and intense effect on your awareness and alcohol levels, so be super mindful of ingesting these types of drinks as well as the impact they have on you specifically.
  • Positive Chat Only! Finally, we know that ‘loose’ feeling that comes with a few drinks. However, we encourage you to avoid ANY gossiping with coworkers or management! Remember that you are held to what you say and how you behave in and outside of the office, so ensuring that there are only ever positive things that people have to say about you will pay off in the long run as it relates to your professional reputation. So, even if you are pulled for a chat and to share the ‘tea’, zip those lips!

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