Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How to Socialise with the Boss; Going out with Your Manager Is a Useful Part of Working Life - Just Make Sure You Don't Get Too Cosy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How to Socialise with the Boss; Going out with Your Manager Is a Useful Part of Working Life - Just Make Sure You Don't Get Too Cosy

Article excerpt

Byline: JACKY HYAMS

HOW far should you go with office relationships? In some cases, too far, according to recent reports that the Thomson travel group are introducing a ruling requiring staff of unequal status to report their office affair to the company. But while outofhours camaraderie may have virtually replaced family life for some, socialising with the boss doesn't come easily to everyone. You might move from a company where colleagues rarely go to the pub after work to an organisation where socialising with the boss regularly is the norm. So how do you handle it?

"There has to be a level of distance; you cannot forget this is business," says Paul Jacobs, MD of Office Angels.

"This is still your boss and whether it is a meal in a restaurant, a group outing or a quiet drink, it still comes under the category 'work-related'.

It's a big mistake to treat this situation as a drink or a meal with a friend."

Should you be deferential in this situation? "There's a blurred line," says Jacobs. "If you're not a naturally outgoing person and your boss is an extrovert, it might be easier to let them lead the conversation.

"But there's no need to adopt a 'speak when you're spoken to' attitude.

That type of behaviour isn't really expected any more." Helen Flynn, Reed Employment regional manager, says that social interaction between boss and PA has increased a great deal in the past few years.

"It's a lot to do with the longhours culture and where once it used to be restricted to a particular type of company - the advertising industry, for instance, has always been very social - nowadays it goes right across the board.

"For a PA it's a good opportunity to get to know your boss better - which is obviously a big help in the workplace for both of you."

When it comes to conversational tactics, however, you should aim to keep it at a level where you can enjoy each other's company yet make sure you stick to safe topics.

"You might talk about what happened that day in the office, but in general it's not a good idea to bring up work issues with your boss when you socialise. …

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