Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Drinking on the Job; TRENDS; Booze Trolleys Touring the Floor, Beer Fridges by Your Desk and Cocktails in the Foyer -- a Snifter or Two Is Just Good Business, Says Oscar Williams-Grut

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Drinking on the Job; TRENDS; Booze Trolleys Touring the Floor, Beer Fridges by Your Desk and Cocktails in the Foyer -- a Snifter or Two Is Just Good Business, Says Oscar Williams-Grut

Article excerpt

Byline: Oscar Williams-Grut

NOBODY wants to be the person at work who keeps a bottle of whisky in their desk draw and takes furtive shots of the hard stuff when the stress levels are up. But what about the colleague who has six bottles of champagne in a mini-fridge behind their chair, or the one who brazenly displays a veritable drinks cabinet atop their desk, right next to their monitor? London's white-collar brigade is taking up a new habit that blurs the boundaries of work and play so much they've nearly been rubbed out completely. Everybody is drinking in the office.

Booze trolleys, beer fridges, drinks cabinets, office cocktails and even in-work bars mean it's no longer taboo to drink at your desk. Hundreds of Londoners are clinking bottles before they've even clocked off -- with the boss footing the bill.

Dress rental service Girl Meets Dress is typical, with the 12-strong team gathering for drinks in their Battersea office every Friday afternoon.

"It's nice to unwind before we head off for the weekend and catch up and relax a bit," says founder Anna Bance. "We either do a selection of drinks or pick one like Pimm's -- in the winter we did mulled wine. It means you don't end the week on a hectic or manic note."

These days no self-respecting startup is complete without a fully stocked bar, and as the businesses grow the tradition goes from strength to strength. ASOS keeps "summer hours", with worker bees downing tools at 3pm on a Friday to enjoy an in-office party. Digital voucher company Wowcher has an in-office bar. And at communications agency Fishburn, the weekly Friday afternoon company catch-up is accompanied by wine and beer.

Tom Morris of Fishburn thinks the in-house social not only boosts morale but also helps foster new ideas. "Because there are different parts of the business, there are some people you don't get to see every day. You meet new people and talk about different stuff."

Desk drinking has its roots in the advertising industry, where threebottle client lunches and tipples to get the creative juices flowing have long been accepted. While adland is not as whisky-soaked as in bygone Mad Men days, there's still a drinking culture -- Saatchi & Saatchi even has its own in-office pub, The Pregnant Man, exclusively for staff. …

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