Drinking with the new kid: how to avoid morning-after regrets

Emma Howe, corporate events planner at events company Late Night London, on handling after-work etiquette.

by Emma Howe
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
If the release of ‘The Internship’ is anything to go by, managers should brace themselves for the wave of interns flooding into offices over the summer break - especially when it comes to after-work drinking sessions.

When an intern or a new office recruit turns up, breaking them out of everyday office small talk and into the jungle of after-work socialising at the local boozer can be problematic.

The line between work and play is easily blurred, so it’s easy to see how an after-work drink can turn into a full-blown night out. But that doesn’t mean employees should let loose like they do with their friends. Manners, conversation and how they behave in both environments should be vastly different.

When you are looking after a new graduate or intern, someone who is fresh to the working world, as their manager and mentor, you need to know the right way to introduce them into this experience and be able to master any tricky after work drinking sessions.

First impressions count?It’s a good idea for you and your new recruit to leave the office 15 minutes earlier than everyone else. This will give you a chance to catch up on their first week and find out how they are feeling about the company and the jobs that have been allocated, as well as giving you some time to get to know them better.

Be the grown-up
Even though you’re away from the office, remember you are still representing your business and the team you manage - you are still a mentor to your new candidate, so make sure you make a good impression even with glass in hand. You are the employer, so no matter how friendly or charming your new colleague is, be professional.

Keep sthum
After-work drinks are a common breeding ground for office gossip and extended office politics. Try and stay positive about the day’s achievements when you are around your new candidate. Remember, you are representing your company both in and out of the office, so discussing negative events is not a great start and can leave your intern feeling awkward and with a nasty taste in their mouth about you and the company.

… but do give them the lowdown
Protect your newbie from embarrassing or difficult work characters - the ones who have a tendency to let booze-fuelled comments get carried away or who you know are going through a tough time at home. It makes sense to give them a heads up on what your colleagues either like or don’t like: this could score them brownie points back in the office on Monday.

Know the limit
The first after-work drinking session may be a daunting experience for your new intern - as with anyone entering a new social group or situation. Keep an eye out for them during the evening: it’s all too easy for a civilised social occasion to turn into a full-blown rounds-and-shots party. Peer pressure still exists, so if you see a situation getting out of hand or your intern is feeling a bit giddy, step in, offer to get both of you some water or a bar snack. You may not be responsible for their behaviour but you are responsible for keeping things under control.

Relax - you're out of office
Be relaxed and be yourself. Building positive relationships outside work is a huge asset to relationships inside the office and creating a better working environment for everyone. Positive words and actions rub off instantly, and your intern will start to feel more comfortable. Let’s face it: there’s no better way to bond than over a glass of wine on a Friday night.

- Emma Howe plans parties for everyone from celebrities to large corporate organisations for Late Night London, who look after 50 venues across the UK including Tiger Tiger and Ball Brothers – For more information visit www.latenightlondon.co.uk

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