The Alcohol Decision: Should You Drink at Your Next Company Function?


It’s important to mix business with pleasure when attending company parties and functions. However, while it may be normal to share a few libations with friends after work or during the weekends, how should a company employee consume and subsequently act around their boss and coworkers?

Should you (even) drink at your next company function? It depends, so sip on the following information to make the best judgment for you.

Is it Acceptable?

For most workers, it doesn’t require a visit and question posed to the HR department to figure if it’s kosher to drink during work, but what amount or intensity of consumption is ‘okay’ for events? One study found the most-acceptable events are designated ‘parties’ (holiday party), a dinner meeting with a client or coworker, and retirement events. The most-unaccepted ambiances are during a meal while interviewing for a position.

Some prefer to follow suit of their superiors; if the boss is drinking, then it’s assumed the workers may do so as well.

Company Culture

As suggested above, take direction from your boss and the culture of the company. For instance, many owners allot Fridays for casual dress and after-work drinks. Alternatively, others demand traditional clothing and actions throughout the workweek, never deterring from a more-cautious and prudent atmosphere.

Consider the actions of other workers and the overall ambiance of the company. Lastly, consider the kind of governing style your boss enacts; some are more willing to ‘let their hair down’ around workers.

Body Chemistry

Consuming alcohol is often discussed in a black-and-white manner; some subscribe to being sober while others enjoy the warm buzz of feeling less anxieties and social restrictions. However, there’s a lot of science associated to the consumption of alcohol and one’s own body chemistry; a girl weighing 115 pounds who had little to eat that afternoon will feel the effect of alcohol much quicker than a 200-pound man that just ate a huge dinner.
Ethanol is an ingredient in alcohol; it is used in medicine to ‘numb’ the brain and subsequent messages sent throughout the body. Humans vary widely regarding how individual bodies accept, absorb, and eliminate alcohol.

Police officers and law enforcement officials use blood-alcohol-content machines to measure the amount of alcohol circulating throughout a person’s body at a given time. Since states have respective laws, it’s important to know which pertain to you, especially if you’re driving a car.

Helping Coworkers

It’s likely someone or a number of people will allow the event and free flow of drinks to get the better of them, especially if they did more drinking than eating. Therefore, it’s important to consider protocols for helping coworkers remain safe. Firstly, there should be a pre-established courier service, taxi, or party bus to take employees from the place of partying back to a central location or individual homes.

Alternatively, a number of peers who either don’t like to drink or choose to remain ‘sober’ can drive others home to ensure no one is driving under the influence. Also, since some people handle alcohol in exchange for tact, it’s likely that some of the peers may act differently than normal.

While it’s easy to make assumptions about people, especially if acting foolish, a major misconception of drinking and alcoholism is that it influences those who are ‘weak of mind’ and ‘loose in ethics.’ Of course, this is entirely untrue and many doctors contribute genetics and a number of social factors toward the cause of alcohol abuse or misuse. If you feel as if you or a coworker has made a bad decision and facing subsequent charges or allegations, contact firms like Goldstein Bachman and Newman – here for legal advice.

Time is Better than Coffee

Some throw inebriated people under a cold shower or feed them cups of coffee to reverse the effects of alcohol. The truth is once alcohol enters the bloodstream only time can serve as the surefire cure. Actually, coffee, being a diuretic like alcohol, can make a headache worse, drying the body and actually prolonging the to-be hangover.

Once someone is inebriated, it’s not scientific or safe to assume they can engage in a number of activities to ‘sober up’ or become ‘legal’ to drive home. Moreover, the strategy of particular beverage ingestion is not very scientific; drinking liquor before beer does not place one ‘in the clear’ for the rest of the evening. Alcohol, regardless of varieties of libations and order of drinks, enters the blood in much the same way. It’s the amount ingested that most influences subsequent behavior and feelings of health.

Frank Martin has been a rising businessman for years. With experience and insight, he often blogs about work situations from interviews to team projects to workplace etiquette.