Saturday, April 10, 2010

Party Pooper

Interesting story from Denmark this week about the Carlsberg beer company tightening their rules on drinking at work. Workers have stormed off the job in protest at no longer been allowed to drink beer whenever they like during the work day. Most work places have water coolers but Carlsberg employees have had unlimited access to beer coolers. These have been removed and the workers may now only drink at lunchtime. Presumably, management is still trusting personal responsibility to prevent drunkenness which is how it worked before the ban.

Everyone knows the effects of alcohol which is why drinking it has usually been considered an out of work activity. A social activity. Of course, liquid lunches are infamous in many workplaces and particularly in some professions. However, being sloshed is not conducive to efficient work practices. Booze may loosen the tongue and remove inhibitions in some cases but is that they kind of personal interaction we want to encourage at work. Think about where you work. How would it be if alcohol consumption was not only permitted but encouraged by the provision of beer coolers, for example?

According to The Opinionated Beer Page ( are 25 reasons why drinking beer at work is a good idea. See the website for the full list if you're interested but it includes, increasing the chance of seeing your boss naked, making burping in meetings acceptable, raising the chances of getting pay rises because drunk bosses are more likely to say yes, and the number one reason on the list of why beer drinking should be encouraged in the workplace is that it is an incentive to actually show up to work. I know this list is supposed to be humourous but isn't this kind of humour the very reason why we don't want people getting smashed at work. This list was probably written on company time by a drunk employee.

On a serious note you have to wonder about the health of people who drink beer like water, and although the news reports don't contain any reasons for the change of policy at Carlsberg, I think it's safe to say that there has either been an accident as a result of someone being drunk, or that the company is increasingly worried about such an occurrence. So they should be.

Call me a party pooper but if people knew how to control themselves then we wouldn't have any problems at all. The sad truth is that we don't always know how to control ourselves so we have all these rules about what we can and can't do and, where we can and can't do it. Suck it up Carlsberg brewery workers.

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