You’ve probably heard the age old saying: Don’t mix business with pleasure. While the advice to work hard and to avoid fraternizing with your subordinates is still really sound advice, the statement doesn’t ring true all of the time. If you’re wondering when it’s OK to mix business with pleasure, here are a few scenarios to consider.
See also: How to Have More Fun at Work
As an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do
When you’re starting your own business, you need to be absolutely committed -- and absolutely passionate -- about what you’re doing. If you aren’t in love with your idea, your investors and customers probably won’t be either. While much of what you do at work is just that -- work -- you should also be enjoying what you’re doing and seeing every move as an opportunity for growth. In other words, if you’re at the helm and you do not love what you’re doing, what is the point of doing it? As an entrepreneur, working for the good of your business should be what gets you up in the morning and the way you derive pleasure. That’s not to say you can’t have fun outside work, however.
The right situation at the right time
While it’s not always a good idea to go into business with friends, there are times when it makes absolute sense. The trick there is to make sure you’re able to recognize the right conditions for a healthy business relationship. As a general rule, the situation should be a win-win for both parties, suggests Bill Stewart and Karl Stark, co-founders of Avondale Strategic Partnerships, on the Inc. website. If you’re going to enter into a business relationship with a friend or family member, be sure that everyone’s roles are clearly defined so as to avoid damaging your personal relationships should the business go south.
In pseudo-social situations, do it in moderation
Even situations that are decidedly focused on business will have their opportunities for cutting loose -- but you need to take care not to let the situations get too "fun." For example, attending a conference that includes a formal dance or a cocktail mixer is meant to be pleasurable, but if you use that occasion to drink too much, it’s going to turn a pleasurable event into an embarrassing episode. Have fun at those business-related events, but just not too much fun.
Have fun when you need some inspiration
Plenty of workplaces -- especially startups and businesses that employ creative people -- are giving employees opportunities to cut loose a little on the job. From ping pong tables, pool tables and arcade games to workplace refrigerators stocked with beer, the idea is to allow for some freedom and pleasure on the job, in hopes that it will inspire you to stay at said job later in the day or to use the fun times as a brain break that can fuel inspiration. As with all scenarios in which you mix business with pleasure, however, the key is moderation.
Do you have other ways in which you mix business with pleasure successfully? Share them in the comments.