Who doesn’t love a good happy hour? Even if you’re going with coworkers, it can be fun. However, a work happy hour should not be treated the same as happy hour with your friends from college. Sure, you want to let loose and relax after a long day, but you need to be smart about how you navigate an office happy hour. Here are the definitive do’s and don’ts of the work happy hour.
DO make an appearance.
Obviously, you should attend a work happy hour. Even if it’s just for one drink, go. It’s important to build camaraderie outside of the office as well as in. You don’t want to look like you don’t want to be a part of the team or like you don’t like your coworkers enough to just grab a drink with them after work. Chances are, you’ll end up having fun and bonding with your teammates.
DO talk to everyone.
Talk to as many of your coworkers as you can, even the people you don’t normally socialize with. You don’t need to stick to your work BFF or your lunchtime clique. Be open to everyone and try to connect with people you might normally not talk to. If you want to have a strong team you trust at work, this is imperative. Include everybody in your rounds, even Wally the Weirdo. He has feelings too and is trying to contribute to the office just as much as you and your friends are.
DO relax and open up a bit.
Yes, there is a line of professionalism you should tow at the office happy hour. However, that doesn’t mean that you can loosen up a bit. You should still be able to relax around your coworkers. It’s the end of the work day and everybody wants to chill out. Let them see a side of you they might not normally see in the office. Crack some jokes and ask them about their kids. Humanize the experience! You don’t all have to be cogs in the work machine.
DON’T drink too much.
Of course, do not get wasted. Be smart about how much you’re drinking and pace yourself. You don’t want to be the office gossip the next morning. If you get hammered, the chances of making yourself look like a fool increase exponentially. You likely will do something or say something you will regret, so don’t let it get to that point. Even if you’re having fun, remember these people are your coworkers not your close friends.
DON’T just talk about work.
Don’t be the bummer who only wants to talk about work. Leave the work talk in the office. People go to happy hour to unwind and forget about the day, so let them. Don’t bring up this afternoon’s meeting or how you can’t believe what Sheila in accounting said about Debbie in HR. Foster a fun and relaxing environment.
DON’T cross any lines with your coworkers.
While you should be open, do not cross any lines or boundaries with your coworkers. You still have to go to work with them in the morning. Do not hit on anyone. Do not ask them about their bipolar mother. Do not invite them to a post happy hour strip club. Don’t dance on the bar. Don’t shotgun a beer. Don’t demand Barry chug his drink. Nobody should feel uncomfortable at their work happy hour. And you don’t want to be invited into a special HR meeting the next day. You can still have fun and keep it classy, people.