Clinking Glasses or Clashing Goals?: Alcohol in the workplace

Back in the 20th century, Alcohol was synonymous with the workplace. Whether it’s the factory workers, bankers, sales reps, or any other working-class people, everyone had a drink or two at the end of their shift to lighten the effect of their hectic day. However, this culture saw a shift at the turn of the century. This was not because alcohol suddenly got a bad name but because corporate productivity and efficiency took centre stage in the early 21st century and the late 1990s. 

Today, alcoholism in the workplace has taken another turn and is coming back to prominence, with some people going to their lunch breaks and coming back barfing. Many corporate employees show up at their offices drunk. But why is it a bad thing, and why do corporations not allow employees to drink in the workplace, one might ask. A study conducted by Alcohol Change UK concluded that lost productivity due to alcoholism cost the UK economy around £7 billion annually. So, the picture is quite clear: the loss of productivity is the only reason why corporations don’t allow their employees to drink at the workplace or is it? The research also mentioned that 40 per cent of employees in the study accredit alcohol for their low productivity and absence from the office. 

That being said, there are still many offices across India and the world that offer to celebrate something they call “ Company Office Hours”. This, too, however, is changing throughout the spectrum. Many companies are shying away from offering alcohol, even in a company effect. However, this solely depends on the industry. As having lunch and a few drinks is still pretty common in sales rep jobs, as they have to entertain their client to close the sales. When it comes to 9 to 5 office jobs, corporations don’t usually offer alcohol to their employees. 

The reason for this, as mentioned previously, is the loss of productivity and to maintain a professional workplace environment. As a replacement, many corporate offices are shifting their focus to employee well-being by offering gym memberships, on-site fitness centres or healthy snacks.

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