Millennials embrace the office happy hour

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
November 28, 2017, 7:30 PM GMT+0

Younger and older employees don’t see eye to eye at all when it comes to getting drunk at company happy hours

As younger Americans permeate more and more of the workforce every day, they continue to change the social landscape at their companies. One of these changes is the increase in interactions after work – a recent poll from YouGov Omnibus finds that 62% of employed millennials say they attended a work happy hour at least once compared to just over half of all employed adults (52%). The survey also reveals that if someone ends up getting too “happy” at these events, they’d best do it in the company of younger colleagues who are less likely to judge them negatively.

YouGov polled employed adults to see just how many stuck around after work to attend a happy hour with their colleagues and found that many (46%) have never attended one . Of those who say they go “sometimes, “often”, or “every time”, men are more likely than women to attend these after work events (33% versus 22%). A closer look at age reveals that a quarter of employed adults between the ages of 35 and 54 say they’ll go at least sometimes (26%) and those over the age of 55 are even less likely to go (16%). Millennials appear to be the most eager age group to grab discounted drinks or food after work.

The motivations behind why employees attend these happy hour events suggests that the workplace is becoming more social. Nearly half of those who attend work happy hours say they want to know their colleagues better (45%) and a third say they just want to “let loose” and relax with their work friends. A quarter see it as a networking opportunity (26%) and nearly the same amount will say they’re there to get some cheap food and drinks (23%). The poll revealed an ulterior motive among millennials and Gen X employees who are nearly three times as likely to say they’ll attend a happy hour to avoid going home right away than their older counterparts (14% vs 5%).

Of those that don’t attend, many (44%) simply want to get home immediately after work. But there are personal reasons as well, a quarter of working adults (24%) say they don’t like spending their free time with colleagues.

When cheap drinks just seem to keep flowing, it’s not rare for some to overindulge. When employees were asked whether seeing someone at their job level excessively drunk, 45% say it would not affect their impression of the person, while others are divided on whether it would be a positive (28%) or negative (27%). A different story emerges when the answers are separated by age; half of Americans 55 and older are much more likely to judge a person negatively (50%) than millennials (19%). In fact, at least four in ten millennials (44%) say that seeing someone drunk at a happy hour would make them think positively of that person and nearly half (49%) ) believe it makes it easier to talk to that person.

Read more results from this poll here

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus research

Image: Getty

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