The Do’s and Don’ts of an Office Happy Hour

Before you hit the bar with your coworkers for a friendly happy hour, check out these top 3 tips for professional outings.

Richie Frieman,
January 8, 2012
Episode #184

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Despite having the occasional “case of the Mondays,” work doesn’t always have to be a drag. In fact, when you have good people around you, it makes a world of difference. I’ve had nightmare jobs before but worked with great people, which helped save me from going insane. We’ve all been there, right? You have your small group of friends at work that you always hang out with – grab a morning coffee, eat lunch, and even get together outside of work. And at large office events, you gravitate toward one another like old college buddies. But what happens when you head out to an office happy hour with a larger group of coworkers? Specifically, with people who are outside your group? Office happy hours create camaraderie amongst the team, but can also be a dangerous breeding ground for inappropriate behavior. And some coworkers like to lose their minds as if it was college! “Who’s up for a keg stand?!?!”s

The Do’s and Don’ts of an Office Happy Hour

I don’t care if you work for the hottest bar in Las Vegas where your job is to get wild and wasted 24/7, there is always going to be a level of professionalism that even the craziest party animal shouldn’t cross. I’m not trying to say you can’t have fun. But acting properly at office events is not about being boring, it’s about not becoming the topic of conversation at the water cooler the next day…or needing someone to drive you home because your face has been planted (and drooling) on the bar table for an hour.

So before you raise your glass, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for the proper do’s and don’ts of an office happy hour:

Tip #1 – Know Your Limit

If anyone has seen my picture online, you’ll notice that I’m not what you’d call a “tall drink of water.” In fact, some would argue that I’m more of a “to-go cup” at Chuck E. Cheese’s. At 5’5” and 155 lbs, I definitely have a limit to my alcohol intake – a limit I do not cross in professional social situations. Everyone has their own limit and I’m sure yours is different from mine but still, when it comes to an office happy hour the rule is: know your limit and, more importantly, STICK TO IT! People tend to forget that it’s still a work function and whether you like it or not, you are under the judging eye of your colleagues, people you interact with and have to see every day. Some stick-in-the-mud may even report you to HR the next day if you do something they consider inappropriate while three sheets to the wind on T.G.I. Friday’s“wings and things” special. In addition, the last thing you need is to have that 19-year-old intern drive you home because all he had was bar mix and diet soda. How embarrassing!