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Is it a good idea to serve alcohol in the office?

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We all know the scenario. It’s 5pm on a Friday and you and your colleagues have had a productive week in the office. The team’s hitting its budget and meeting deadlines. What better way to celebrate and do a little team bonding than sharing a glass of your favourite wine or beer?

But is it actually a good idea? Far be it for the team at Human Resources to come across as a bunch of wowsers – but we look to bust a few myths about workplace drinking.

Five myths around alcohol in the workplace:

Myth No.1: It’s OK to get drunk every once in a while

Although it’s good to celebrate successes and foster a closer feeling in the organisation, overdoing it can encourage a drinking culture at the office. The short and long-term effects on alcohol are well documented: impacting health, ability to function properly and, in the worse case, leading to dependency.


Myth No.2: Drinking is safe in moderation

Moderate drinking can still be harmful to health. HR needs to be mindful of an employee’s health. Just one drink can negatively impact an employee with poor health – for example, if they have a heart disorder or are pregnant.

Myth No.3: Wine or beer won’t make you as drunk as spirits

Often, businesses provide drinks at events, but choose to stick to wine and beer as it is assumed they won’t make people as drunk as spirits such as whiskey or gin. However, all alcoholic beverages contain alcohol (ethanol), therefore, all alcoholic beverages can make you drunk if consumed in sufficient quantity.

Myth No.4: Drinking is OK as long as you can hold your booze

There always seems to be that individual who appears to consume alcohol freely at functions, but appears tip-top at work the next day. Despite this, such individuals can still suffer the effects of excessive alcohol consumption to their health – such as dehydration – and, in the long term, their liver.

Myth No.5: You can sober up quickly with a cup of coffee

It’s not uncommon for employees to head for the coffee machine the morning after a night of partying and drinking for that all-important shot of caffeine to wake/sober them up. Unfortunately, coffee has no effect on processing alcohol.

For businesses hosting a function on a week night where alcohol is served, they could choose to have it on a Friday, or give employees the day off the next day, giving them time to remove the alcohol from their system.

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