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Drinking at Work: 3 Reasons to Instill a ‘Mad Men’ Office Environment


Drinking at work may be a no-no in modern workplaces, but during the 1960s, real-life "Mad Men" types downed alcohol throughout their day. Some companies still embrace this boozy office environment, and ABC News recently interviewed several workers at these firms to find out why. Based on their responses, we've compiled three points in favor of drinking at work.

  • Informal problem-solving. The Kirshenbaum, Bond, Senecal + Partners ad agency regularly holds open-bar events it calls Trolleys, a modern-day incarnation of drink trolleys that were used to dispense drinks around the office 20 years prior. "Say there's a group of employees standing around chatting," said Jonah Bloom, the head of digital strategy. "They're just having fun, having a couple of beers together. It's a social occasion. They may not set out to solve a problem, but somebody comes up with an idea, and somebody else builds on that." Bloom compared this process to the many pickup games Wayne Gretzky played, and how those informal sessions contributed to his greatness as an NHL player.
  • Enhanced creativity: A new study published in the journal "Consciousness and Cognition" found that a small amount of alcohol — just enough to bring the participant's blood alcohol content to .075 — enabled creative, unorthodox thinking about work-related issues.
  • Increased employee engagement: Today's knowledge economy means that workers aren't necessarily primed for creativity between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Access to free alcohol may make the workplace feel more like home. Yelp manages employee consumption with its intelligent kegbot. The keg tracks employees' beer consumption by requiring them to sign in before it operates; employees can then rate and review the featured beer in the keg.

Does your employer permit workers to drink while they're on the clock? If not, would you be interested in working in such an environment?

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(Photo credit: John Loo/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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