Go Ahead, Drink on the Job!

Many companies would frown upon an employee enjoying a drink during the workday but The Life is Good Company would beg to differ. The Life is Good Company is a Boston-based apparel and accessories brand that aims to be unique and fresh. They have focused their efforts on improving employee productivity in a totally new way. No they didn’t try a cash incentive program, prizes, or extra vacation days, they thought having a tavern in the office would increase productivity.

The Life is Good Company is in the process of installing a tavern in the middle of their office. The tavern will include a stage, to host live music, shuffleboard, billiards, and a basketball hoop with enough space to hold at least 260 people.  They want to have a comfortable place where employees can “put their feet up and relax” while doing their work. Hungry? Grab a booth, food, and hold an informal meeting. The boss says it’s okay.

The Life is Good Company isn’t promoting people to be drunk, driving while drunk, or alcoholism. They just want their employees to be comfortable and productive at work. They would even say having a tavern is appropriate to their brand. Most of The Life is Good Company employees often grab a drink after work, so why not let them do it at the office?

An area The Life if Good Company is trying to improve might just the area that disappears. The book states that labor productivity will increase due to “healthier, better-educated, and better nourished labor force” and poor diets are a major downfall to productivity. Having a glass of red wine a few times a week is good for your diet but will these people really be drinking red wine? Beer and hard liquor are not conducive to a healthy diet. Having a tavern in the office will encourage people to drink. Many people are social drinkers. Having a bar will distract people from working and increase socialization. Product organization may suffer because it requires management and attention.

The operations management team is not being socially responsible or ethical. The workplace has the potential to be a harmful environment to co-workers and prospective business partners. The ability to measure productivity will be increasingly hard as more employees spend time in the tavern.

Another area that could see a decline in growth is quality management. The increase in alcohol could lead to a decrease in quality. The product could suffer because a questionable product could be produced. Many people who drink think certain ideas are better than others maybe that is why a tavern is being installed at The Life is Good Company.

Do you think having a tavern in the office will increase productivity? Is having a tavern in the office ethical and socially responsible? What possible management issues will the Life is Good Company run into because of having a tavern in the office? Can a tavern in the office have a positive influence on the company’s brand image?


Why I’m Building An Tavern at the Office : http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2013/05/10/why-im-building-a-tavern-at-my-company/?mod=WSJ_Management_At_Work

12 thoughts on “Go Ahead, Drink on the Job!

  1. This post was very interesting to read being that more companies today are trying to be more “laid back” and attempting to make their employees more happy to be at work. I personally think that The Life Is Good Company may experience some issues initially putting a tavern into the office, but I do think that being this is a clothing and accessories company, having a laid back environment like this may also increase the creativity levels of their employees. Most people can’t be creative under pressure, like a traditionally work environment might have, so by having a space where they can have meeting or take a break in a more social and relaxed setting may in fact be a good thing. In regards to your question on whether having a tavern in the office is ethically and socially responsible, although some people might have a problem with it, I don’t feel it is ethically wrong. Furthermore, if the employees that are working at the company now begin taking advantage of the tavern, they probably were working at the wrong company to begin with.

  2. I personally think this company is out right making the worst decisions ever. When has a successful company allowed their employees to drink on the job. Drinking would lower the employee retention rate on learning new things on the job and increase absenteeism. Maybe they are trying to do something like Google because they are also considered laid back, but they absolutely do not let their employees drink on the job. Being able to drink on the job will only decrease productivity, which will also be hard/almost impossible to obtain incremental performance if everyone in the company is tipsy.

  3. I don’t feel that they are necessarily making a bad decision by putting a tavern in the workplace. I have heard people talk about situations similar to the one that Life is Good is implementing, and usually there is a limit on how much each person can consume, and it is often limited to after work hours for employees. If there aren’t rules in place, then it is possible that employees may take advantage of this, but if they do it doesn’t seem likely that they will remain employed there. It would be nice to have something to look forward to after a long day of work, such as being able to conveniently get a drink without having to go far.

  4. I do not think this is a healthy option for a workplace. An issue that comes to mind is people who are suffering from alcoholism. If a current or recovering alcoholic is put into a bad situation by their workplace, the affects can be very detrimental to everyone involved. Of course someone who is struggling with alcoholism can easily just walk into a bar after work, they have to make that decision on their own. If a tavern is tempting the person all day long, it seems like the choice to say no would be substantially harder. The same goes for people who are not necessarily struggling with overconsumption. Having a tavern in a professional work environment seems to promote alcohol consumption and this is a problem since America already struggles heavily with alcohol related problems.

  5. The first thing that popped into my mind is “this is not a good idea.” I can agree with a basketball court, food court, a stage, arcade, or even the pool table, because it’s not a drug that is negatively affecting Americans lives, and a tavern is going to be the downfall. I don’t understand how the company sees this as a good fit for their company. Aren’t they going to be liable for alcoholism or injuries that could occur because of it? Being in the business school I feel like professors are always telling us, if your in a leadership position its probably not a good idea to get drinks with your employees and the drinks are only going to make people a little too comfortable with one another.

    Now after taking time to read the article I can see where they are coming from. It’s not specifically about the beer, but it’s more about the space that they are creating, something a lot more comfortable than a cubicle. They made it clear that if an employee sees fit to get wasted on the job, than they probably aren’t a good fit for the company in the first place. They are trying something new and I have to give them a chance for it, they also made a point to say that if it negatively affects productivity then they aren’t scared to pull it back and go a new direction. It’s going to be interesting to hear the results. Good post.

  6. I think that this decision will come back to haunt the company and send it on the decline. Alcohol is an inhibitor that would decrease the productivity of their workers. By allowing workers to drink and making it available, it gives them a bit too much freedom. Accountability is severely affected and it makes a manager’s job much more difficult as they have to control their workers. Additionally, a tavern in the workplace would not be good for the company. It increases a company’s costs with something that is unnecessary when the money could be used to better the company. It could be seen that the managers want their workers to relax and feel comfortable but there are other ways of doing this without bringing alcohol into the equation.

  7. First of I would like to say that this sounds like an awesome place to work! But that is just a surface comment…with deeper thought it will definitely be the responsibility of management to regulate the consumption of alcohol at Life is Good. I agree with you, productivity and quality has the opportunity to suffer. If you make alcohol available to your employees can you really be upset if unfortunate things start to happen? I don’t think so. Also, when companies take measures to make their company a place where the employees can relax and feel more comfortable I see it as a way to keep their employees there longer, which is just not ok. Work-Life balance is so important, you need to be able to leave and enjoy your drinks then. Don’t Fall For it! Great Post!

  8. This is a very interesting post. However, it appears that you have never seen an episode of “Mad Men.” In “Mad Men” the highly successful advertising consultants are always drinking hard liquor, and it helps them to devise the creative ideas they need for advertising success. Let use also think about Neil Young and the countless other famous musicians who consume mass amounts of alcohol. In Neil Young’s autobiography, “Waging Heavy Peace,” he mentions how during the recording of the “Tonight’s the Night” album (one of his best) he drank a bottle of tequila a day. And let us not forget about Ozzy Osbourne; who in his book “I am Ozzy” discuses being incontinent due to alcohol nearly everyday in the 1980’s. Thus, I find alcohol to be a key source of creativity; which may be a reason why the tavern is being used by the Life is Good Company.

  9. This is definitely a different approach. I understand the whole idea of being laid back at work, which I am all for, but I am not sure if alcohol is the way to do that. Will there be a limit on how many an employee could have per day? The more beers one has, the more the quality of their work will being to deteriorate. This is also going to bring on a whole set of legal questions to the company. If one of their employees drives home over the legal limit, is the company responsible for not taking better measures to prevent DUIs?

  10. Your writing made me form an opinion about having a Tavern at the office. There are two things to consider. The company has already announced building a tavern in the office, so they must be aware of possible consequences. What I am trying to say is improving workers productivity while being in the office tavern might be a worst decision ever made by The Life is Good company. What about if employees would like to spend more time in a bar instead at their desks. Some people drink more other does not. In the article, the CFO said, “They might want to work in the tavern for an hour or two. There will be booths, and you can hold an informal meeting while having some food.” Really! I do not think it is a good idea to be in the tavern for an hour or two because people could possible be drunk in an hour, and drinking can possible lower their productivity and creativity level. Secondly, there might be a good reason too. The company wants their employees to feel comfortable and laid but there are many other ways to motivate, to increase productivity, to stay focus without having a tavern in the office. In addition, people who do not drink might feel uncomfortable at their workplace, and some of them might consider looking for new jobs. Therefore, the company might loose their best workers because of their new improvement to the company.

  11. This is an interesting article. I know of some companies that do let employees drink on the job or atleast after hours. I do not agree with having a tavern in the middle of the office because I do not think it will increase productivity but instead make it fall. I think having a happy hour at the end of the week would be okay but drinking on a Monday morning sounds absurd. From an ethical point of view, this is crazy because I would think HR would have a field day with this. It is there company and at the end of the day, they can do what they want. Only time will tell if it was successful or not. Hopefully this is not a new trend in companies.

  12. I think this article is very interesting drinking while working. I think 90% of people would like to work for a company like this. Everyone thinks that the company that they work or they get hire should be very laid back. I like this idea that you can drink when you at work. There is nothing wrong with grabbing couple beer during lunch time. If company allows this then employees have little freedom and also not get to stress while they working. If employees are not stress they will bring positive impact to the company. If employees are happy while they working that could be big change for company.

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