For many employers – maybe most – drinking at work is a big no-no. But now, according to Bloomberg news service, certain companies are rethinking this workplace taboo.

The organizations Bloomberg cites – Yelp, Twitter, Tello, CrowdFlower – are all high-tech firms in the San Francisco Bay area. Their practices range from actually providing the booze – kegerators, stocked bars – to tolerating the bending of an elbow or two during work hours.

Their executives say at go-go companies like these, work and play inevitably blur. And they say the idea is to treat people like adults and trust them to behave that way.

Is there anything HR people at more traditional organizations can learn here?

Depends. There are some possible pros – perhaps raising a glass together helps forge team bonds – but a lot of cons. Like safety risks, chances of harassment and other bad behavior, reduced productivity, and possible resentment by people who are trying to beat drinking problems.

What do you think? Have you ever worked for a place where drinks are on the house? Did it work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

photo credit: Tjeerd

8 Comments

  • Susan12 says:

    I used to work for a smaller company (50 – 75 peoople) that basically halted work at 3:pm each Friday so the entire company could gather for beer, chips, and salsa/dip. We discussed our week and weekend plans. No one ever over-indulged, and it was a great bonding experience. I remain friends with many of those people, even though it has been many years since we worked together.

  • Susan12 says:

    I used to work for a smaller company (50 – 75 peoople) that basically halted work at 3:pm each Friday so the entire company could gather for beer, chips, and salsa/dip. We discussed our week and weekend plans. No one ever over-indulged, and it was a great bonding experience. I remain friends with many of those people, even though it has been many years since we worked together.

  • Judy says:

    Every month we open up our rear party room that has a full bar, pool table, darts, pool table and everyone snacks and drinks. It is a great way to unwind and forge friendships. We have a sole owner (40 employees now) and it is his decision to have drinks and accept the risk.

  • Judy says:

    Every month we open up our rear party room that has a full bar, pool table, darts, pool table and everyone snacks and drinks. It is a great way to unwind and forge friendships. We have a sole owner (40 employees now) and it is his decision to have drinks and accept the risk.

  • Michael says:

    Many of our clients are European and the expectation is that an “adult” beverage will be offered to them when visiting our offices. Additionally, on Friday afternoons, the staff stops work at about 4L30 and we have a beer together. Everyone is over 21. We have had no problems. In fact, our soft approach to having so-called adult beverages in office enhances morale. But then again we are in San Francisco, a culture foreign to most of the rest of the U. S.

  • Michael says:

    Many of our clients are European and the expectation is that an “adult” beverage will be offered to them when visiting our offices. Additionally, on Friday afternoons, the staff stops work at about 4L30 and we have a beer together. Everyone is over 21. We have had no problems. In fact, our soft approach to having so-called adult beverages in office enhances morale. But then again we are in San Francisco, a culture foreign to most of the rest of the U. S.

  • Linda says:

    I would not like to work in an environment that encouraged alcohol consumption during work hours. I could tolerate it, but wouldn’t like it. However if it was in the vein of stopping work at a certain time and indulging, I would be OK with it. However the person supplying the alcohol is responsible for any negative events caused by the drinks served.

  • Linda says:

    I would not like to work in an environment that encouraged alcohol consumption during work hours. I could tolerate it, but wouldn’t like it. However if it was in the vein of stopping work at a certain time and indulging, I would be OK with it. However the person supplying the alcohol is responsible for any negative events caused by the drinks served.

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