Sometimes you've got to love science. Like, for instance, when psychologists announced last year that you should feel free to go ahead and have the occasional afternoon beer at the office. It's good for creativity.

Plenty of trendy companies have taken this advice to heart, channeling a little bit of their inner Don Drapers and enjoying a tipple with colleagues at the office. It's blessed by science after all, so what could be the harm in that?

A lot, argues Jen Doll in a recent Atlantic article that aims to tear down the mystique of office drinking. Booze at work, she insists, isn't glamorous or relaxing, it's workaholic, a little creepy and not all that fun. Among her arguments:

Drinking in the office is a ploy meant to get you to stay there forever. Do you really want to stay longer in the office to have a drink? Let's be smart about our decision-making! There is a simple fact at work—yes, work—here. When your beloved boss walks by at 9:00 at night and asks if you want to finish off the whiskey that's been sitting at someone else's desk for 8 months, you may want to say yes, and perhaps you should.

But you also should know in your heart and mind that if you say yes, you will not be taking that whiskey in a to-go cup and heading off into the quivering moonlight to meet some friends down the block. You will be sitting at your desk, or possibly standing, and you will be drinking, and then you will finish, and only then will you leave the office… Think about this next time you're excited about your free slice of pizza and beer at 10 p.m. when you've still got two hours of work to do. Oh, you just got office-played.

Forced bonding is hell. Get out while you can; avoid the pain of the "bonding beverage."

You are going to want to take a nap. Day-drinking in the office has a particularly burdensome aftermath, largely because you'll have to stay awake and work through your hangover instead of lying in bed, or under your desk, or, again, in the sunshine on a beach, to take a much-needed afternoon nap.

It's a long article and you really get the impression Doll has strong feelings on the subject, so if you want the whole passionate, anti-booze at work argument check out the complete piece. Those whose minds are less made up on the issue might answer yes but to many of her points.

Yes, of course drinking is a ploy to get you to stay at work longer, but if you're going to have to do it anyway, isn't it better with a beer? Yes, forced bonding can indeed be worse than some forms of medieval torture, but there are actually a few people who like the folks they work with enough to warrant occasionally enjoying a cocktail with them (this will be a shocker to some, I know). And yes, an intense urge to nap usually follows day drinking, but then again you could limit your office drinking to later in the day.

Which side of the great in-office drinking debate do you fall on? 


Published on: Apr 5, 2013