I like doing my job and with COVID I love working from home with meetings via Teams. After COVID, I'm continuing working from home. My productivity is higher than in the office and I often work (because I want) more hours than the contract.
I'm an associate director in this company. Now, the company decided to organize a company day out in a historical palace in the middle of nowhere in order to build the team. Who wants can go to the office and the company rented a bus to transfer all people from the office to the palace. They asked to everybody if they wanted to join the event. I said no because I prefer to work.
So, my boss and the HR called me to, basically, force me to join the event. As you can see from the program, the company meeting is between 10.30 and 13.
- Arrival and Continental Breakfast (9:30 - 10:30)
- Company Meeting (10:30 - 13:00)
- Lunch (13:00 - 14:00)
- Team building event (14:00 - 17:00)
- Drinks reception (17:00 - 18:00)
- BBQ (18:00 - 21:00)
- Depart (21:00)
In my point of view, this is a social event, not a real company meeting because it is not in the office, there are not clients and there is not a real working agenda (but there are only some plans for team games).
Also, they asked every employee if they want to join saying that the participation is optional. They added that the employees must join the event unless they have a medical reason.
My question is not if it is nice or not to go. I know someone can say attending team building exercise is rather beneficial for the colleagues to bond together. I think each person has to decide what he or she wants to do because they are not regular working hours in the office. Also, if the company asks if a person wants to join or not, the answer could be no. Instead, why do you ask the question?
In conclusion, can a company force/order people to join a social event?