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ManagerLink's Guide to Work Happy Hour Etiquette

ManagerLink's Guide to Work Happy Hour Etiquette

Jeff Hindenach | ManagerLink

May 26, 2010

At the end of a hellish day, it can be fun to go out and have a few with your favorite coworkers. But drinking with your office mates isn’t like drinking with your friends on the weekend. The same rules just don’t apply.

No matter how laid-back your office may be, your actions always reflect on your professional persona. So what kind of behavior is appropriate? We’ve put together a little work happy hour etiquette guide for you.

Pretend You Are Still at the Office

What happens at happy hour doesn’t necessarily stay at happy hour. You don’t want to be the butt of the office joke the next day, so keep your wits about you when joining your coworkers for drinks. Act like you are still in an office setting, and that all the usual HR rules still apply. This should give you a solid guideline of how to act.

Treat Your Boss Like You’re Still at Work

Just because you’re sharing a pint doesn’t mean you’re now BFFs. Pitching him ideas while he’s trying to enjoy his Pilsner is not going to gain you any brownie points. Chances are he’s not going to remember what you talked about the next day anyway, so why are you trying so hard? As with your other coworkers, keep the conversation light and superficial.

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

Having a few drinks after work with your coworkers is fine. Closing down the bar with them is not. The drunker you get throughout the night, the more likely you are to embarrass yourself in front of your entire office. If you feel like you just have to stay out late, call some friends to meet up with you at a different bar.

But if you do find yourself stuck at the bar until last call with your coworkers, remember to avoid the following …

Office Relations Are Off Limits

No matter how hot he is and how drunk you are, it’s not ok to flirt with the guy from Sales. While legitimate work relationships may be acceptable at your office, sloppy drunken hookups are not covered in the HR training. These are people you will have to work with on a daily basis — having an awkward hookup relationship with your coworkers just makes it more difficult for you to do your job properly.

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