Drinking at Work: Is Alcohol Welcome in the Workplace?

A business working at a table with people writing and drinks nearby
“Okay, let me just down this whiskey and then we’ll have our morning standup.”

At some point in your business week, you’ll have to deal with employees wanting to get drunk during working hours.

There are many laws regulating workplace boozing, but you’ll want to may it crystal clear to your staff what your business’s policies are.

Should Your Business Have Workplace Drinking?

It depends. Under the Drunkenness at Work Act 2010, it was strictly prohibited. However, the Drunkenness at Work (Miscellaneous) Act 2021 modified the code of conduct.

It is now possible to trial run drinking days at work and for you, the employer, to encourage your employees to become totally wasted.

Do remember, this isn’t about replicating Withnail and I. It’s about making your business a success.

It varies from industry to industry, but business-wide drunken revellery can be fantastic for workplace morale (and sometimes productivity).

However, and typically, daytime drinking can lead to less productivity. While some of your employees may enjoy sipping at a glass of wine during meetings, others may be barfing absinthe.

The more hedonistic employees may be unconscious by midday, while moderate drinkers will merely stagger off home come the end of their shift (possibly puking on the floor on their way out).

Such unruly behaviour from hedonists spoils it for everyone else. It can also lead to:

  • Drunken workplace brawls over trivial matters.
  • Drunken workplace vomiting.
  • Drunken workplace work, such as spreadsheets covered with drunken errors and covered in vomit.
  • Mass ordering of kebabs from nearby takeaways, most of which will go unconsumed (or will soon be puked back up).

It’s up to your business whether or not you decide to allow drinking at work.

You can introduce it casually, such as on a Friday afternoon to celebrate the end of the working week.

Alternatively, you can hit the ground running with a Monday morning, week-long binge marathon that’ll land several employees in hospital.

Many businesses are currently trialling “Drunk Tuesdays”, as it allows for freeform revellery, creativity, and punches to the face.

What Are Drunk Tuesdays?

Drunk Tuesdays are businesses with a policy of open workplace drunkenness.

It’s increasingly common for many startups to embrace Drunk Tuesdays, where employees and their CEO get as wasted as possible just before the mid-week.

But should your business also take up this fad, so as to appear trendy and a cool place to work?

We asked one digital agency in Manchester to trial it, with the CEO (Mr. John Johnson—not his real name) providing the below feedback.

“As we expected, the day began in high spirits (no pun intended). Our apprentice, Mike, was already pretty wasted when his mother dropped him off to work—he walked in with a two litre bottle of cider and yelled, “Oi oi! LET’S DO THIS!!”

First, we had an important business meeting to attend to first about the merger of one client into another, a complex process known as TUPE—Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006—that requires a great deal of clarity and commitment to manage regarding marketing materials and other assets.

I scheduled the Zoom meeting for 10am under the belief we’d be highly effective with only a few tipples under our belt, but our senior marketing manager, Janice, had already thrown up twice by that pointing after rapidly downing several rum and cokes. She went very pale and when I asked her if she was okay she said, ‘I think I need to go home and lie down.’ I gave her the rest of the day off. As she left Mike yelled at her, ‘Lightweight!’ and hurled his semi-empty bottle of cider at her. Luckily it was a plastic bottle and merely bounched off Janice’s head. She was too drunk to really notice.

The meeting, unfortunately, went very poorly as Mike kept flirting outrageously with one of the client’s female founders. He also kept yelling ‘OI OI!’ at irritating intervals. Our clients asked if we had been drinking that morning, at which point I told the we were trial running Drunk Tuesdays. They did not look impressed and said it was very unprofessional. I tried to step in to defend my agency’s policy, but Mike burst in with a barrage of profanity. He then jumped onto the meeting room table, pulled his trousers down, and mooned our clients. They duly hung up the Zoom call.

The rest of the day we continued with work as normal, although Mike passed out around midday and soiled his trousers while unconscious. His mother collected him at around 2pm.

By around 3pm most of my team was too plastered to work and instead began arguing with each other, with several fist fights breaking out over petty matters.

John, our copywriter, broke our web designer Susan’s nose. The court case for assault is scheduled for later in the year.

Personally, I myself was struggling for coherency from around 2pm and needed multiple quick power naps to regain some composure. But by 4pm I was pretty pissed out of my head and began giving some really weird orders to my staff.

One client I’m particularly not fond of, I demanded John the copywriter to update the client’s homepage copy. It’s a leading national car repair service, but we changed its main slogan to simply read, ‘BASTARD’. We’re now being sued by this client.

I passed out at 5pm and woke up at 3am, so decided to spend the night in the office. This was the same scenario for several other of my employees, although Stuart our SEO executive woke up three miles away in a hedge. He arrived an hour late to work reeking of alcohol, vomit, and looking confused.

At midday on Wednesday I asked my employees if they enjoyed Drunk Tuesday and whether we should run the concept in future.

90% of my employees thought it was fantastic and we’ll now be holding this weekly and indefinitely.”

Should your business wish to indulge in similar antics, please be aware that you may have some teetotallers in your workforce.

You may choose to fire these individuals for being boring.

Or your can let them work from home on that day, so they can avoid drunk colleagues breathing all over them and saying stuff like, “I bloody love you, you’re my best mate you are.”

13 comments

  1. Hic….nic… hic… dic… xic….
    I decided to try this approach, on a Wednesday.
    Hic….nic… hic… dic… xic…. OMG it’s Thursday! No wonder it didn’t HIC!

    Liked by 1 person

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