Are lunch break beers “allowed”?

It’s a tricky subject that even the most experienced workaholics struggle to answer. Why? Because every workplace is different. Some, have specific requirements for the blood alcohol levels of employees, yet other companies pose no acknowledgement of alcohol consumption in basic employee guidelines. It can make for a very confusing, if not taboo, conversation for everyone to have.

But it’s summertime! And the urge to give in and say yes to a refreshing drink on the patio is stronger than ever. And hell, most would even make the argument that if you can still drive after a single beer, then you can definitely still go back to work unhindered. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Many employers have strong opinions against lunch beers, even if they’ve never shared them aloud. So you can bet it’s important to figure out if your workplace is open to it before joining in.

Lucky enough, there are many telling signs that can help you determine if your company condones light day drinking. And the best part? You don’t need to bring up the topic with anyone.

1. Observe your fellow employee

This is by far the most obvious thing to do. Just look around during a lunch outing and see if any co-workers are ordering alcoholic beverages, keeping close attention to mature employees (like that guy you know who’s been there for 10 years). Chances are, that if they’re taking carefree swings of the stuff then it’s probably a non-issue at the office. And if it is, at least you’ve got strength in numbers!

2. Client lunches

Luncheons with customers are by far the most common instances where alcohol consumption is acceptable during work hours. But, keep in mind, that it’s all about what the client orders. So if they order up a pint of the local brewski, only THEN can you take that as your green light.

3. Workplace habits, strict or lenient?

Think about your work environment. Are you allowed personal items on your desk? Can you snack or listen to music during your shift? Can you have a cell phone nearby? If your company is strict on other workplace habits, then it’s likely that they will not be accepting of a proposed leisure drink.

4. Specific timetables

Roles that specify your timetable, including exact break times, washroom breaks, and time-stringent work, that immediately qualifies your workplace as a strict one. It’s very unlikely that a lunch beer would go well with your supervisor in such environments. Call centres and phone roles for sales or customer service positions are prime examples of these types of situations. (Sorry folks, you’ll have to hold out for that coveted day off!)

5. Creative environments

Companies working to attract millennials with glamorous workplace amenities and privileges are more likely to allow events like Friday lunch beers (sometimes even in the office). Such environments are also often made up of team work, creative thought, and brainstorming sessions that would be less inhibited by consuming a single beer. In contrast, if your job involves protocols and fine detail analyses, you have a greater expectation to be on your guard 100% of the time, and you can bet that your boss would not be as accepting of light alcoholic activity.

6. Daytime workplace events (e.g. BBQs)

Think back to any day events that your work has hosted. Was alcohol involved? If it was, was it widely consumed? We’re fellow workers taking part no questions asked? If so, you can get a pretty good idea of how they perceive a casual day drink.

7. Finally, If you feel the need to ask, then it’s probably frowned upon.

Unless you tend to be the type of person who always proceeds with caution, then you’re probably asking if lunch beers are allowed because you already sense that they aren’t. If it’s a practice that you feel strongly about, and believe it would have positive impacts in your workplace, then by all means take it up with your superior and make it happen!

Please note, however, that irrespective of the topic and stance of this article, Consider It Novel does not support excess and/or dangerous alcohol consumption (in or out) of the workplace. At the end of the day, employees show up with the purpose to work and perform compensated tasks and consuming alcohol is by no means acceptable if the privilege is exploited or executed irresponsibly. Should you choose to drink alcohol during the workday, it should be done safely, responsibly, and in small quantities.

Drink smart everyone!


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