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In the season of company holiday parties, the question of whether alcohol should be part of the festivities is apt. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:

The Pros

  • It’s a morale booster. Which is a bit of an oxymoron considering alcohol is a depressant, but many employees enjoy loosening up with their coworkers in a different environment with a beverage on hand.
  • It amps up the fun. Hanging out with people from work without alcohol can sometimes feel like more work.  Most adult hangouts include alcohol, because oftentimes it can lead to more fun.
  • It can increase camaraderie. I’ve heard alcohol described as “extroversion in a glass” and for those who work together every day, enjoying some wine or other beverage together can lead to new, more spirited interactions.

The Cons

  • Having new and spirited interactions with coworkers who have had something to drink is not necessarily a good thing – read: harassment claims.
  • Consider transportation from the party – are employees safely able to get home? Companies may be liable for drunk drivers if an employee claims they were over served.
  • What about social media? Are there going to be embarrassing photos from the event posted online from the event?

There is not a hard and fast “yes or no” answer to whether alcohol should be served at a company party, but some options to consider:

  • Have a cash bar instead of open bar, or offer 1 free drink ticket and a cash bar. An open bar can lead to a messy event where it’s easy to overindulge.
  • Offer plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages as well
  • Encourage ride sharing or taxis to minimize unsafe driving – better yet, cover the cost of taxis for those in need
  • Remind employees that a company party is viewed as an extension of work for any harassment claims and, regardless of alcohol involvement, appropriate conduct needs to be observed at any company-sponsored event.

Does your organization provide alcohol at events?  What positives or negatives have you seen?

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Manager of Career Coaching Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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