Do Not Make Your Workplace Alcohol Centered

“Almost anytime is a good time for alcohol in Jude Maboné’s office these days.

“The 26-year-old marketing professional in Washington, D.C., says her workday usually ends at 6 p.m., but on a recent Tuesday most of the staff called it quits and broke out the drinks at 4:30 p.m. Then there was a Thursday when her bosses—some two or three times her age—started scooping liquor-infused ice cream with the same alcohol content as a Budweiser at 2:30 p.m.

“Ms. Maboné and her 20 or so colleagues have been back at their desks for about a month, and she has noticed alcohol is “always in the center of social things here.””

Thus sayeth the Wall Street Journal.

Sure, if you want to encourage people to come back to the office, one way to do it is to get the booze flowing.

Except this is a terrible idea.

Do you know who in your office is an alcoholic? No one? Hardly. More than 6% of US adults have some sort of alcohol addiction problem.

Chances are, someone at your office is one of those people.

Do you know how many people don’t drink for religious reasons? The answer: A lot.

Did you also know that 28 people die in drunk driving accidents per day?

Did you know that “at least half of all acquaintance sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim, or most commonly, both”?

No, I’m not saying we should bring prohibition back. If Adults want to drink, they should be able to drink. But you and your business don’t want to be responsible for it.

There are too many places where things can go wrong quickly when you introduce alcohol in the office.

As a non-drinker, who silently sips sparkling water, I can tell you that many people cannot handle my lack of alcohol consumption. At a Girl Scout event, one of the other moms kept trying to get me to drink. I said, “This is against my religion.”

“It’s against mine, too, but that doesn’t stop me from drinking!” she said.

“What, are you twelve?” I responded. Not my finest moment. But I’m not alone. Drinkers, for whatever reason, sometimes try to pressure non-drinkers into drinking. This can result in very bad things for your company.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, hop over to Jon Hyman’s blog, where he details seven reasons this is a bad idea–or things you need to think about.

If you want people to come back to the office, you do want to make it enticing. Alcohol is not the way to do that. Try private offices instead. People like those.

Alcohol by Vectors Market from

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7 thoughts on “Do Not Make Your Workplace Alcohol Centered

  1. I’m not much of a drinker, but am glad I work for a Government Agency, where alcohol possession and coming to work chemically-impaired are verboten.

  2. Such a valuable post! I worked at a company that relied on alcohol to entice people to any event including during work hours. It was really hard for anyone who didn’t drink and there was peer pressure or even suspicion if you abstained. I’m all for a “cool” work environment but not when it harms others. Seems like a careless, immature and not very creative approach.

  3. “What, are you twelve?”
    I’m sorry but that WAS a very fine moment indeed

  4. It could hit the company health care budget too, and not just for alcoholism. Alcohol increases risk of some cancers. The cancer deaths in my family going back several generations are also the family’s alcoholics, one for one. I don’t want to go through what they went through! I find it particularly irksome when someone with whom I must maintain a friendly office relationship looks at my non-alcoholic drink and says, “C’mon, loosen up!” at a company team building/drinking function.

  5. It’ll be interesting to see how drinking on the job can be policed within virtual companies. My WFH company handbook bans alcohol during the workday but I don’t see how that can be policed unless someone is absolutely trashed during a telecon.

    At least if someone’s drinking while WFH, they’re not on the road (unless they decide to leave and drive somewhere).

  6. His very fine points notwithstanding, I love how the author references the “shift pour” as an afternote. I’m in Milwaukee and back in the day we had numerous breweries running all shifts here. The shift pour is a very real tradition. But even then, most working class people didn’t drive, they took the streetcar, and your free pour was after you clocked out, not in the middle of the shift while you were on the bottling line!

  7. Yes, private offices! My company is trying to force all the rank and file professionals into 2’ x 4’ shared spaces and saying coming in is now mandatory…even though every single person I deal with is located in a different office, no less than 90 miles away. These shared spaces are for collaboration…I guess for Covid virus particles. No thank you.

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