Drinking Alcohol at Work Can Be Good

May 20, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. revive (v.) [ri-vahyv]  – to bring something back to life
Example: New singers usually revive old popular songs.

2. start-up (n.) [stahrt-uhp] – a company or business which started recently
Example: Twitter is one of the most successful start-up companies in social networking.
3. brainstorm (v.) [breyn-stawrm] – to think of ideas in a free and uncontrolled manner
Example: When we brainstorm ideas, we try to write down everything that we can think of.

4. harassment (n.) [huh-ras-muhnt, har-uhs-muhnt] – the act of disturbing, scaring or attacking someone repeatedly
Example: Forcing people to buy a product is a kind of harassment.

Read the text below.

Drinking alcohol may soon be encouraged during work hours says Robert Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University.

Sutton observes that many hi-tech firms today are reviving an old European tradition of taking alcohol breaks in between or after work. Hi-tech firms, like Hewlett-Packard (HP), was known for its so-called ‘Friday afternoon beer bashes’ back in the 1950s. Today, start-ups like internet companies such as Twitter, Yelp and Crowd Flower, make alcohol available for employees’ free consumption.

Drinking alcohol helps people to freely express themselves and to instantly connect to others. Sutton explains that companies grow stronger as employees bond and brainstorm ideas in casual situations, like drinking.

However, Sutton speculates that another reason is that many start-up companies are in need of talented and young employees and most of the potential workers are mostly in their partying stage. Companies likewise think that allowing alcohol breaks enable their workers to work over extended hours. 

Sutton warns though that when drinking gets out of hand and if uncontrolled, it may weaken productivity, encourage rudeness and harassment, and affect the mental and physical health of workers. Moreover, Sutton advises that companies should also consider and protect employees who refuse to drink alcohol.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         In what kind companies do you think is drinking an effective social activity?
·         What are other ways or activities can promote bonding at work?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, how does drinking alcohol affect the performance of employees at work?
·         Do you think drinking alcohol benefits workers and companies? Please explain your answer.

May 20, 2011