Heading out to the bar for happy hour is a common practice for many employees.
After working a long, stressful day, some people prefer to sit down with an alcoholic beverage to take the edge off before heading home for the night. But what if companies start providing alcohol at work? Would the same hold true?
Would employees feel more motivated and less stressed, or would it be a disaster waiting to happen?
The Benefits of Allowing Alcohol at Work
Research suggests that alcohol may make it easier for people to make decisions, especially creative ones. In a 2012 study, participants who were mildly intoxicated were able to solve creative problems much faster than those who did not drink. In addition to the creative problem-solving abilities, encouraging alcohol consumption at work may improve workers’ health in limited ways. Research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption can improve good cholesterol, which lowers the risk for heart disease. It can also prevent the common cold and lower the risk of gallstones and diabetes.
The Risks of Providing Employees With Alcohol
While there are some benefits to allowing alcohol in the workplace, there are some serious risks that come along with it, which may outweigh those advantages. One of the biggest risks, of course, is the danger to employees in recovery from an addiction to alcohol. How would you feel if you struggled and succeeded to overcome an alcohol dependency, only to have your employer put the temptation right in the midst of your workplace? Having alcohol at work could make it incredibly difficult for recovering alcoholics to fight their addiction while also trying to concentrate on work.
It’s also worth mentioning that, while there are many people who become happy when they drink, there are also people who become aggressive or depressed. This can cause workplace arguments and increase the stress that employees feel. Alcohol in the workplace can also cause other problem among employees, such as making people who don’t drink feel excluded from the company culture. Since those who drink may congregate while enjoying their beverages, those who don’t want alcohol may feel left out.
Additionally, companies who allow drinking on the job may have to worry about getting slapped with a lawsuit. If employees drink alcohol and sustain a personal injury, the company could be held liable. For example, concerning employees who have to drive great distances to and from work, the company may be held liable if an employee gets into a car accident.
What do you think?
Well-known companies such as Yelp, Trello, Zillow and CrowdFlower offer alcohol in the office and have gotten a lot of press (both positive and negative) for it. Many employees seem to like that their companies provide beer on tap or a fully stocked bar. But what about the risks mentioned above? Do you think it’s worth it?
Contribute to this conversation in the comments section below!