Let’s Chat… Work Appropriateness at Happy Hours!

Welcome back everyone and HAPPY FRIDAY! Today, as some of us are ‘recovering’ from Thursday work events, happy hours, cocktail evenings, networking parties, and more, we thought it would be a perfect time to regroup on corporate expectations for behavior in these situations. In order to secure the respect of your coworkers, direct reports, and other employees, make sure to follow along with the steps below!

Behavior in Work ‘Drinking’ Settings:

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, when able, you should always prioritize engagement and participation in company events. 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 certain 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 really 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, so 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 reminding each of you 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 with a drink and either a snack or glass of water is a great way to measure out your 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 effect 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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