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Is Beer in the Office Dangerous?

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A kegerator is a staple of the modern startup, and smart tech businesses know that it's a great way to attract talent. Developers love beer. I love beer. In fact, I'm a homebrewer. Here at DZone, we have beer on tap (right now: Blue Moon and Hoppyum IPA -- pictured here).

But does beer in the office cause problems? Does it make a workplace unsafe, less productive, or encourage harassment? One blogger says that, yes, it does. 

Take work.  Add competition and the drive to achieve.  Add being tired, stressed, and wanting to bust out and unwind.  Mix in some hormones and inexperience. Add beer. It’s a recipe for mixed signals, disagreements, misunderstandings. [Source]

Is beer at the office really such a recipe for disaster? I don't think so. Just having beer in the office doesn't mean that everyone is getting drunk at work. Software development is hard work, so why shouldn't a startup or tech business let you unwind after a long day of coding?

The author of the blog post mentioned above goes on to say that beer in the office "had roots in the frat houses that some of the younger guys had recently left behind." This may be unrelated, but how many developers do you know who were in fraternities? I don't know any.

What do you think? Do you have beer at your office? Have you ever felt unproductive, unsafe, or uncomfortable as a result of beer in the workplace?


Mihai Dinca - P... replied on Thu, 2013/10/17 - 7:26am

 Really, does such article be shown on Java Lobby? Can't you put such thing into somewhere?

Riccardo Cossu replied on Thu, 2013/10/17 - 8:42am

Well, to put it simple, in Italy one could be legally fired for simply bringing alcohol to the office; this rule is usually not applied for a birthday or goodbye quick toast, but I guess it would be applied if someone drinks beer while coding.

P.S.: I am a developer and I don't love beer, I simply like it :-)

Simone Finotti replied on Fri, 2013/10/18 - 2:07am in response to: Riccardo Cossu

 Do we really have a rule/law like that?!

Riccardo Cossu replied on Fri, 2013/10/18 - 2:46am in response to: Simone Finotti

I'm not sure it's in every kind of collective contract, but surely is included in the most common ones; I think it is there only to prevent abuse and it's never applied literally, but still...

But, as always, one beer would probably do no more harm than everything else, having one every hour maybe will :-)

atul khot replied on Wed, 2013/10/23 - 5:10am

Here in India - any alcohol based drink is frowned upon (Does not mean people don't drink - they do) - however, beer is not acknowledged social drink - It is usually a cup of tea of coffee...

       I have not seen any office myself which allows beer - however, yes when there are office parties - drink flows freely - (and not only beer at that ;-)

--- cheerio atul 

David Zett replied on Wed, 2013/10/23 - 9:10am

We are around 12 freelancers in a shared office. There is always beer in the fridge. This doesn't mean that we drink during work, but afterwards it's is nice to grab a beer, relax and talk. That's like at home: beer in the fridge but not drunken the whole day. ;)

Russell Caswell replied on Wed, 2013/10/23 - 10:24am

Is this what happened to ?

Steve Orr replied on Wed, 2013/10/23 - 10:55am

Not only do we want to attract talent, we want to promote teamwork. My personal exhaustive studies show that beer increases teamwork by 42%.

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