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ANNE-MARIE DOLAN HR Leader, Aus­tralian Hu­man Re­sources In­sti­tute

IT is al­ways a good idea to at­tend so­cial events when you can as it en­ables you to get to know col­leagues in a more in­for­mal en­vi­ron­ment and shows you have a con­nec­tion to the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­yond your role. Say­ing that, some or­gan­i­sa­tions have a very busy so­cial cal­en­dar, which can in­trude on per­sonal time and com­mit­ments. When there are too many so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, be se­lec­tive in which ones you at­tend. Choose those that are most ap­peal­ing to you and suit your own sched­ule. For ex­am­ple, if you have a young fam­ily, you may choose fam­ily day events rather than evening func­tions. UN­DER th­ese cir­cum­stances, hon­esty will al­ways be the best pol­icy. Be up­front with your man­ager about how you like to spend your out of work hours. Pri­ori­tise which work so­cial func­tions you should be at and de-pri­ori­tise those that aren’t as nec­es­sary. Think about who you may po­ten­tially net­work with or whether the gath­er­ing is a good op­por­tu­nity to spend qual­ity time with co-work­ers. Be sin­cere if you choose not to at­tend cer­tain events. Be fair to col­leagues who re­ally do want to be at th­ese gath­er­ings and re­mem­ber ev­ery­one’s pri­or­i­ties are dif­fer­ent when it comes to their so­cial lives. MOST em­ploy­ers are pretty un­der­stand­ing when it comes to jug­gling fam­ily com­mit­ments with work so­cial events nor­mally aligned with some form of client en­ter­tain­ment. Clients too are un­der sim­i­lar pres­sures when it comes to their time. If your role in­volves a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of events each year, you may want to de­velop de­ci­sion-mak­ing prin­ci­ples on whether or not to ac­cept. For ex­am­ple, you may de­cide to only ac­cept in­vi­ta­tions to break­fast events and one or two week­end events per quar­ter. It demon­strates you are a will­ing par­tic­i­pant but have also placed bound­aries on your time. WORK­so­cial events are dis­cre­tionary at­ten­dance gen­er­ally, so what con­sti­tutes ‘‘ too many’’ will be an in­di­vid­ual mat­ter. As­sess why you should or would like to at­tend th­ese events and the pos­i­tives or neg­a­tives that can re­sult. Think of the an­nual cal­en­dar of events and de­cide in ad­vance the ones that are higher pri­or­ity. Work around th­ese, po­litely ac­cept­ing or de­clin­ing de­pend­ing on the ebb and flow of other com­mit­ments. Courtesy, man­ners and pre-warn­ing of at­ten­dance or apolo­gies will go a long way to man­ag­ing oth­ers un­der­stand­ing of com­pet­ing time de­mands or needs.

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