The scenario is the whole office (30 people) is having an off-site day at park, like a (catered) picnic. It’s not a teamwork type of retreat, though I’m sure a side effect is better teamwork in the office. It’s a bring your kids, SO, etc, type of thing.

For freelancer who have only been in the office for 4 weeks, would not going be so bad? This is for someone having no kids or partner/plus-one.

Not going would just be a day off, as the office would be closed. To clarify, this is unpaid and cannot be billed.

Update: The question that has been suggested as already asked focuses mostly on how to make up the pay. The answers focus mostly on how to make up hours/pay. This question is focused on teamwork and socializing. The comment about whether or not it can or cannot be billed was added in response to questions, and it's a clarification not a focus.

  • 1
    Why not just show up for an hour eat and leave?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 2, 2018 at 22:18
  • 1
    This is unpaid time, that takes over an hour to get to.
    – user70848
    Aug 2, 2018 at 23:19
  • 3
    Highly opinion based. But my opinion is "if you feel you'd do better forming good relationships and you think you'll be there for a while then go, otherwise enjoy your unpaid day off"
    – solarflare
    Aug 3, 2018 at 0:21
  • @paparazzo Actually it takes an hour to get to the location that it takes an hour to travel from. So 4 hours travel to/from.
    – user70848
    Aug 3, 2018 at 12:46
  • @user70848 Not sure how 1 + 1 = 4?
    – paparazzo
    Aug 5, 2018 at 21:36

5 Answers 5


You can simply explain to them it’s not your sort of thing and you feel you haven’t settled in yet. Of course he’ll try to get you to come but you just make it as if you have things to do on that day so you can have a day off

  • That's a good idea & he doesn't even have to lie - "I have been waiting for months for X, but it can't be done on the weekend". Most of us have something like that, and this is a perfect opportunity. Aug 3, 2018 at 6:39

Can you ask 'Will I be able to bill for this time?' There's a good chance the answer to this question dictates whether it's acceptable for you to go or not.

Company expectations can vary wildly towards contractors, and I've been in all situations here..

Good was companies whose attitudes was 'You're one of us just like any employee, which means we expect you to be there and pay for your time like all other employees'.

Bad was 'You're a contractor so you're not eligible to come to our social event.'

Worse was when the invite comes by email and within five minutes the manager walks around to the contractors saying 'That doesn't apply to you, you still have to come to the office and work.' Yeah, that's classy.

Good luck.

  • No billing. This is strictly personal time.
    – user70848
    Aug 2, 2018 at 23:18
  • 1
    Ah, then it is your decision completely. Old rule for contractors: You pay, I stay. No pay, no play. Which means this, not being paid, is my decision to go (as contractor) and out of professional courtesy I WOULD PERSONALLY GO. Customer Relationship Management, you know. Those are your customers. This is how you put yourself ahead of all the ignorant contractors who think that keeping customers is not also a political / social game.
    – TomTom
    Aug 3, 2018 at 12:29

If you are working as a contractor, there is always the problem that you may act as an employee, and as a consequence be treated as an employee by the tax office. With bad consequences both for you and your client.

If you join this party, billing for it would be very problematic from that point of view. Even just joining the party is slightly problematic. That's one of the reasons why your daily rate needs to be a lot higher than that of an employee.


It depends.

I've had gigs where the owner of the company expected me to be there (& would react poorly if I wasn't) and other gigs where my presence would have been considered an intrusion.

You'll have to talk to your leadership and see what their expectations are.


Work relationships should always be grounded in professionalism, thereby a potential consequence of not going is others viewing you as not a sociable person.

However, if you are actively trying to fit into the culture the above can't really apply can it? What if you invite somebody to a picnic and they don't show up, would you want to socialize with them further?

At work you don't necessarily have to be social, but I think most would agree it makes getting through the day easier, so as you have nothing better to do... do go!

  • If I invite 3 people to a picnic and one person doesn’t show up, that’s very noticeable. If I invite 30 and one person cannot attend, it’s barely noticeable.
    – user70848
    Aug 2, 2018 at 23:21
  • @user70848 from a managerial / organizer standpoint sure, but if OP is looking for opportunities to improve teamwork they may have to rely on professionalism in place of comradery, which I at least find perfectly acceptable.
    – RandomUs1r
    Aug 4, 2018 at 20:32

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