Although today’s workplace isn’t as bad as an episode of Mad Men (you know you wouldn’t survive if you tried drinking as much as they do), alcohol is increasingly becoming a part of the workplace, especially in tech companies competing for talent. So how does your company stay “cool” without encouraging drinking on the job? Consider the strategies used by “cool” parents…
Fist, let’s go over some of the current workplace drinking practices in a few companies.
Yelp actually has at least 3 kegerators throughout their office. The kegerators are justified because they are connected
to iPads that give details about each type of beer (including temperature and country of origin and of course ratings) and measure how much each employee is drinking, a result of an in-house hackathon.
Although this is extremely cool, it puts employees into an awkward position. By tracking who is drinking what and their ratings, some employees might see it as a competition and drink more to be #1 on the employee drinking chart. The worst part though, is the employees who don’t usually drink will feel pressured to drink to be part of this “cool” office tradition. Others will have to think hard about striking a balance between appearing cool and being part of the drinking but not drinking too much, since you don’t want to be seen as the office drunk, especially by your boss.
So although a kegarators in the office are super cool and probably attract lots of college-age employees, they put an un-needed peer pressure on employees and promote an office culture of drinking while working, which is not good for business.
Meebo has converted their office reception area into a bar! But wait! That’s only their mini bar… if you go down a “secret” stairway, you will get to an actual full-size Meebo bar where you can actually watch a game. They even have a special Meebo drink recipe. Now this is getting a lot more closer to Mad Men…
Seriously though, having hard liquor on display in the reception area not only tells your employees that your company values drinking, it is also the first thing visitors will judge your company on when they get into your office. At least the Yelp guys build the complex iPad application to validate their drinking. At Meebo, you don’t even have to work for it! If I were a VC, I’m not sure I’d invest after seeing the vodka display, no matter how well the company is doing.
Now, this is how to tastefully serve beer at work! By serving beer on Friday afternoons, Google is thanking its employees for their hard work week. In addition, getting employees to drink beer during TGIF, creates a casual atmosphere where employees feel comfortable asking questions from the co-founders. After all, have you ever asked a hard question to a boss during one of those sober “open door” meetings?
This is comparable to a parent who lets their child and friends drink beer, but only under their supervision in an atmosphere they can control. Google still comes out cool, since Google employees get to brag that they got to drink beer at work, but at the same time, beer comes off as a once-in-a-while reward versus a company value.
Article image via kegworks.