People in an office environment typically spend 8 hours a day, five days a week with their co-workers, often longer than the time they spend with family members. Whether we like it or not, our co-workers can become a kind of surrogate family. It is natural to bond with your colleagues, but as with most relationships, this has its ups and downs. Hanging out with co-workers beyond the cubicle can easily translate into better team dynamics and a more collaborative work setting. After-work fraternizing can be fun, but even with all the pros of doing this, there are cons that must be considered as well. These tips can help you decide how personal your relationship with your co-workers should be.

 

Everyone needs positive relationships in their day to day life, whether it’s at work or home. Work relationships are important on many levels, from encouraging teamwork to landing promotions or simply making the work day more pleasant. While all of you may be battling deadlines individually, together you create a constant support system that helps greatly when things becomes stressful. The main objective of seeing co-workers after work, is to gain insight into each other’s personalities and build better teams to improve work performances. Avoid letting these sessions turn into gossip whenever possible.

 

Most companies have an annual holiday party or activity. This is the perfect time to indulge in some healthy office fun. Stepping out of the staid office environment and having the opportunity to relax and socialize with the people around you on a daily basis, can be very liberating. But don’t let your guard down, it is imperative to maintain a level of professionalism in order to uphold your reputation. Be mindful of your alcohol intake, as it tends to loosen inhibitions more quickly than one might think. Having an excessive amount to drink around bosses, clients and your fellow colleagues can lead to negative consequences and regrettable behavior. This can include discussing controversial subjects in front of a supervisor or talking about an employee in an unfavorable light.

 

Part of being a professional also involves conducting yourself appropriately inside and outside of the office. You shouldn’t swear too much. Avoid controversial jokes. A good rule to follow is not to do or say anything that you wouldn’t at the office. Socializing with co-workers has its own set of rules and practices that are far different from hanging out with friends and family, since you still have to work together every day.  It is imperative to understand even if you’re not at work your social life will still impact how you’re seen at the office.

L. Paul | DBPC Blog