Socialising At Work
Is socialising at work a good thing or a bad thing? It depends on the relationships. Socialising as a team on an occasional basis can be very healthy and build good team relationships. It’s also healthy and important as a manager to reward and recognise good team work and having a team building social event is a good way of recognising this and maintaining team morale.
However on an individual basis care should be taken in terms of the personal relationships. It’s inevitable that relationships and friendships will blossom; after all we spend most of our time at work if we have a full time job and statistically most people meet their partners at work.
The industrial Society claims that gossip is ‘the cement that holds organisations together’ and encourages socialising and ‘banter’, which I suppose is fine as long as you are not the victim of the gossip!!!
It’s is all great when things go well, however where things go wrong it can be very awkward and distressing for individuals and the teams that individuals work within as a bad atmosphere and misery is contagious and brings down the whole team. It also can make individuals feel isolated and ‘iced out’ as inevitably sides will be taken and even if there isn’t sides being taken in all cases, people when they fall out people tend to believe there is, as they feel vulnerable.
Where people go for a drink after work on a Friday night, it can be a great way to break any tensions that in the office as sometimes people get to see a different side to people in a different social environment. But also those that are not naturally sociable in terms of the pub or have other commitments shouldn’t feel like they are out f things when they get back to the office.
Where the company encourages / sponsors any social arrangement – for example the Christmas night out, it is worth remembering that the company can be held liable if things go wrong, where say a fight breaks out or damage is done. This can be a huge pain to the company, but also individuals can find themselves being disciplined or worse dismissed for bringing the company into disrepute even though it was just a leaving do or a night out that the company were not paying for or even thought they were effectively supervising ! Anything where a group of workmates that can be identified as a group from ‘Joe Bloggs Manufacturing’ can fall into this category. Companies should also beware where they do sponsor events and pay for alcohol and things go wrong as a result of that, for example a car accident or someone losing their licence, again the company find themselves in hot water.
On an individual basis, it is also important to try to ensure that if friendships blossom that there is a clear work / social divide so that if two work friends are talking about work they don’t disclose unnecessarily things they shouldn’t to each other or anyone who doesn’t work for the company.