We’ve all heard the saying ‘Never mix business with pleasure’. But in a working culture where the average person spends a staggering 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime, ‘never say never’ seems more appropriate. Let’s look at the main pros and cons of staying after hours.
It’s good for your career
According to Monster, mingling with colleagues can help nurture working relationships. It’s a natural way of developing stronger team relationships and boosting morale when times are tough, and helps break the ice with work mates you’re not so familiar with. In the future, your effortless networking could lead to interesting opportunities.
It’s good for the soul
A study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that workplace stress is a major health and safety concern, and feeds into feelings of anxiety and depression. Having a fun time with colleagues is not only a stress reliever, but also works wonders for your overall wellbeing. Remember, as the TUC points out: “Employers have a legal responsibility to reduce or remove anything at work that could make you ill – and that includes workplace stress.”
It’s easy to overdo it
A drink or two to liven the mood and unwind with colleagues can be great, but know your limitations. The office isn’t the place to hone your reputation as a gossip or a party animal. Try to shut down idle gossip or criticism wherever possible, and if your office is especially political you can stay long enough to enjoy one or two drinks, but be sure to duck out before things get too rowdy, heated and regretful.
It’s easy to say no all the time
Opting out of after work social gatherings can make you appear distant to your colleagues and give the impression you don’t care about your job (read: them). This can then leave others in doubt about your future with the company… which, if you’re having doubts, is a whole other conversation. So, if you like your colleagues and enjoy spending a little time with them, say yes when your schedule allows.