Just when you thought you've seen enough of your co-workers after a long and hard workweek, Derek from marketing invites you to join him and a group of office mates for a few post-work drinks at the sports bar down the street. Sure, a well-deserved glass of chardonnay or a pint of lager sounds like just what the doctor ordered (if your doctor moonlights as a bartender), but is going out socially, especially when alcohol is involved, a good idea?

Before you turn down Derek's invitation and you go home to binge watch something mindless while munching on leftover, hopefully still safe to eat Chinese food, consider going out for happy hour a good thing.

As Cheat Sheet recommends, "Go! Don't limit your social options at the office just because you're not sure what the best protocol is. Even if you'd prefer to not drink (whether for personal, religious, or other reasons), there's nothing stopping you from getting a lime and tonic and fitting right in, alcohol or not."

As long as you don't get sloshed and do something regrettable, here's why happy hour with the work crew gets two thumbs up.

Get to Know One Another

Your office environment probably doesn't leave much room or time to get to know your co-workers on a personal level. Yes, you may pick up on others' unique personality traits and learn a smidge here and there about who likes which baseball team and the latest juice cleanse everyone's trying, but most talk revolves around work (or at least it ought to).

Happy hour gives you and your co-workers a chance to connect on a different level. As per Fast Company, "Part of the social glue that binds your work community together happens at these after-hours events. The shared experience creates inside jokes and group memories."

It's Good for Your Career

According to Forbes, "The casual atmosphere (of happy hour) will likely lead all attendees to get to know each other better, on a more personal level, which could actually help advance careers. Those who aren't in attendance could miss a discussion that leads to a big project involving those who were there."

Even if you only join the gang every once in a while, it's better than never going at all. You may be viewed as "not being a team player," as per Forbes. Although the setting is outside the office, all the same players are present with work still on their minds. Business talk is sure to come up and it's nice to be part of the conversation.

Fast Company suggests that developing relationships with colleagues can help you feel closer to the group leasing to improved overall job satisfaction.

Just remember, if you plan to knock back a drink or two, take public transportation or designate a driver. And if you go out during the workweek, limit your consumption, because that 5:30 AM alarm clock will be torture on your hangover.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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