What is an effective policy for social drinking in the office?

What is an effective policy for social drinking in the office?

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Be sure to keep the beer fridge stocked :slight_smile:

Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your mom (or the CEO) to see.

I think keeping it to Friday afternoons is a good one, have a clear starting point (4pm or 5pm) and have a clear policy that states that anyone that is intoxicated will not be allowed to continue to drink, will be put in an Uber and sent home etc.

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@CSJAY - those are all great policies. In general, I think that we need to set an expectation that we are all expected to behave like adults, be respectful, etc. in the office and that is applicable in all situations (drinking or not). Hopefully, that translates to fun, social events, as well :slight_smile:

Cheers, @jon :beers: :wink:

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Great input @CSJAY and @Sahra_Kaboli-Nejad.

I think with any policy on this topic it is also important to recognize cultural differences around the world.

When I moved from the US to Australia, I was struck by how common it was for companies in Australia to have social gatherings on Fridays in the office with alcoholic drinks. In the US, I did not see this happen as often. If working at a global organization, any general policy on this topic would likely need to take into account these cultural differences.

Policies around alcohol are fraught with confusion. ‘No alcohol’ tends to send a very different message to an email celebrating someone’s leaving party in the pub after work. And what if an employee has a drink at lunchtime? Or before work? And what if you have a company event (off-site) during the day. Alcohol or not?

If possible, avoid having policies for every eventuality. I’ve seen them for alcohol, drugs, legal highs, smoking, social media etc. etc. What are we looking to tackle? Inappropriate behaviour. So have a Code of Conduct and that becomes a catch-all. Why someone is anti-social is irrelevant - it is their behaviour that should be under scrutiny.

I was once denied access to a bus because I had an open can of shandy in my hand. “We have a strict no-alcohol policy” the driver told me. I explained the drink was bought in a sweet-shop and is sold to children. “If it says alcohol in the ingredients, you can’t come on the bus with it open!”

I also worked for a company with a no alcohol on the premises rule. An employee came to tell us that a colleague bought some groceries - including a bottle of wine - and had them under her desk. By the letter of the policy, we should have sacked her, given it was a gross misconduct clause. Would that have been the right outcome? Rules tend to create more problems than they often set out to solve.


A little late to the party with this reply but I hope it’s helpful anyway! I’ve always really liked the wording of Clef’s Drug and Alcohol policy which they’ve published (along with a bunch of other things) publicly on Github here.

I particularly like the wording "It is the responsibility of every employee to ensure that their individual consumption is not making anyone else feel uncomfortable or unsafe."

To me that reads: It’s cool for you to drink but make sure that you do it responsibly and ensure that you’re always thinking about others and read the room when you do so.


Never too late @Jordyn thanks for posting and joining the conversation!

Thanks for sharing @Jordyn, this a great example!