How to Drink Responsibly at Work

Let’s get one thing out in the open. It is perfectly acceptable to drink while you are working, as long as it does not contradict any policies, interfere with either your or anyone else’s productivity, and most importantly, if everybody is fine with it. This does not mean you should overdo it, nor that it should become your daily habit. However, whenever you reach a new milestone on your road of progress, it is important that everyone feels great and that their efforts are properly rewarded.  

Sooner or later, your boss might invite you to have a drink with him or her, since it is a great opportunity to get a glimpse of who you really are. When this happens, make sure you play your cards right and handle the situation professionally. This means you should still be respectful, keep personal information to a minimum and never try to impress your boss with the amount of alcohol you can drink. All things considered, drinking at work has its perks, as long as it is done responsibly, so here are a few tips on how to wrestle with this issue.      

1. Benefits of Drinking at Work

Before we go on to talk about how to drink responsibly, I think we first need to elaborate why drinking can be a good thing. It’s primarily because it has a positive impact on productivity, and on many different levels. First of all, by allowing your workers to drink you create an atmosphere which is far less uptight than they originally thought it would be. With more freedom, workers consider their office to be a friendlier place and that affects their attitude towards work.

Basically it is very similar to allowing your workers to play video games for a specific amount of time during the day. It is a nice opportunity to recharge your batteries, it can be a fun bonding time for your staff, and it improves the overall mood inside your workplace. It goes without saying that people with high anxiety levels can have more difficulty navigating social situations or, in this case, functioning effectively within the work environment. In other words, employees with these issues can certainly use a glass or two, so that anxiety does not interfere with their productivity.

This may contradict with logic, since with moderate alcohol intake we lose the ability to pay attention. Since this is the case, it is hard to believe that anything positive can come out of such an arrangement. Well, this widely depends on the type of work you are doing. If your job consists of making complex calculations, it pains me to say this, but drinking won’t do your work much justice. Considering that your work relies on a high level of precision and incredible attention to detail, drinking alcohol will only hinder your performance. However, if you are in charge of the creative process, then it is an entirely different story.

Researchers from the University of Illinois distributed vodka-cranberry cocktails, to workers in accordance with their body mass. For an unknown reason the participants of the experiment had to watch the cartoon “Ratatouille” until their blood-alcohol level was .07. Afterwards, they needed to solve a math problem, while remembering a sequence of words, and their executed the task moderately well. Another assignment had more surprising results. The participants needed to answer a word-association problem, which in turn required more creativity. The group that consumed alcohol managed to outperform the control group. The participants claimed that the answers simply came to them intuitively. There is a theory that, due to alcohol intake, the participants paid less attention to distracting details, which in this case was the first task, thus they managed to come up with solutions for the second task with greater efficiency.

2. The Proper Way to Drink Responsibly

Drinking Beer Fest

Now that it has been firmly established why drinking at work should not be a taboo, it would be wise to discuss how you can do this responsibly, in order to avoid any controversy in the future.

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach – food can hinder the absorption of alcohol, so you can maintain your focus. You should also drink more water if you want to mitigate the negative side effects, or eat bananas to prevent nausea.
  • It‘s not about the quantity, it’s about the strength of the drink – meaning, if you mix more drinks into a cocktail, you did not have only one drink.
  • Don’t play drinking games during breaks – these can get out of hand, so just don’t push it.
  • Keep track of how many drinks you had – it should take around one hour for your body to purge the toxins from one drink. If you drink more drinks within one hour, you get more and more intoxicated, so you shouldn’t do it.
  • Know your limits – much like with the boss advice, do not try to impress people, and just drink the amount of alcohol you feel comfortable with.
  • Don’t make a fool of yourself, and don’t pressure anyone else into drinking – if someone does not share your passion for alcohol there is no reason to persuade that person to drink. Not everyone is an alcoholic like you.

It is worth mentioning that the nature of your job dictates whether you should drink at all during work. If you work as a lifeguard, pilot, driver, or anything where you are responsible for other people’s lives, you should never take chances. This does not imply that you shouldn’t or can’t drink at all. It simply means you should organize your schedule so that it gives you at least 8 hours to sober up before you go to work.        

3. How to do it in Secret

Lastly, let us assume you work in a place with a strict set of rules, but you need a drink, because of either anxiety or stress. This means, your drinking time will be a covert operation, and you will need to make sure you are not caught.  

Rule number one – never carry a flask, as you will end up getting caught and will only raise suspicion that you are a raging alcoholic. If you carry a gym bag to work and place a training bottle filled with alcohol in it, you raise less suspicions.

Rule number two – never take mints to mask the scent of alcohol. These will not eradicate the smell and people will get the wrong impression. If you need to cover your scent, go for a flavour of gum that no one usually buys. It’s simple really, they have no idea how it tastes and smells, so they won’t be able to tell if it smells as it should.   

Rule number three – don’t drink alcoholic beverages with an “aggressive” scent, go for Vodka, preferably Smirnoff, if you want to keep a low profile.

Rule number four – hiding in plain sight. A hand sanitizer is basically mostly alcohol with a bit of an aroma. With that in mind, if someone is nearby and starts to wonder why your area smells the way it smells, apply the sanitizer to your hands and smile.    

Remember to keep interactions to a minimum before the alcohol leaves your body. This way you reduce your chances of getting caught. Yes, drinking alcohol may increase your creativity and make you more productive, however, it is not that nice to be so drunk you can barely speak or walk; you need to keep your job after all.

Do you believe that drinking at work makes you more productive? Let us know in the comments section below.