Workplace Drinking on the Rise

Drinking at the workplace has always been frowned upon, but there have always been those employees who tip back a few at lunch. However, many startups are actually sanctioning the consumption of beer and other alcoholic beverages at work. They're even helping out! What is this emerging trend? Actually, it's down to a number of different factors including the unique character of many of these companies.

Quite a few of the companies leading the charge in allowing their employees to drink on the job are Internet startups. Take Yelp for example. The company actually has a keg refrigerator – they offer their employees as much beer as they want to drink. However, the keg is connected to an iPad app that tracks each worker's consumption and posts it on a leader board. Obviously, being consistently at the top of the list in number of ounces consumed is not a good thing but the company says that they really haven't had a problem with employees over-consuming at work.

Twitter is another company that takes an open approach to beer and wine at the workplace. They keep a refrigerator fully stocked with beer and wine and employees indulge as they wish. According to their spokesperson, Twitter wants to treat their employees like adults and they've been happy with the results.

CrowdFlower is another example of this new trend where the fridge is always stocked with beer. The company also brings in kegs for special events and for gatherings too. However, once again this is a startup company and the reason that drinking on the job works is that employees often have nontraditional hours.

For instance, engineers and developers might work until midnight. Obviously, if you have four or five beers at 5 or 6 pm, then making that midnight deadline is probably not going to be possible. These companies have found that their employees are responsible with alcohol consumption and most rarely visit the keg or beer refrigerator until after hours. 

That's another thing that sets these companies apart – "after hours" doesn't mean 5 pm here. It might be 7, 8, 9 or even 10 pm before workers start winding down their day. The unique nature of startups is that employees might work around the clock to get projects done on time and turned in. This means that they can't really afford to spend their time tossing back glasses of beer – there's still work to be done!

Posted on April 2, 2011 .