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Here’s Why You Should Drink at Work

Alcohol enthusiasts, rejoice: It turns out that (moderate) drinking at work might boost your performance.

Alcohol enthusiasts, rejoice: It turns out that (moderate) drinking at work might boost your performance.


(Photo Credit: Lindsay G/Flickr)

Matthew Yglesias at Slate recently examined the question of whether people were more productive in the days of the three-martini lunch. While he couldn’t find any research that made a direct one-to-one comparison of our work output compared to the productivity of folks in the boozy “Mad Men” era, he did find plenty of evidence that a little bit of alcohol helped boost creativity.

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Yglesias quotes a research paper from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Entitled “Uncorking the Muse,” the paper showed that subjects with a blood alcohol content of approximately .075 performed better on the Remote Associates Test, which measures creative problem solving.

“Intoxicated individuals solved more RAT items, in less time, and were more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight,” the authors wrote.

This theory will be familiar to programmers, who have been relying on the Ballmer Peak for years. (Discovered by Microsoft programmers in the 1980s, the Ballmer Peak states that a BAC between 0.129 and 0.138 will confer “superhuman programming ability.”)

While 0.129 is legally drunk just about anywhere, a BAC of .075 wouldn’t even get you pulled over in most states, and works out to be about two to three drinks for a 180-pound male. That’s hardly falling-down drunk. Still, if you’re looking for an excuse to introduce happy hour to your office, this just might be the ticket.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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6 Comments on "Here’s Why You Should Drink at Work"

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Productivity boost? maybe, and definitely more creative although chaotic ideas…

However, it also may put the company allowing this into hot water when employee drives home drunk and kills someone on the way…”Enabler” – that’s how the company will be described by employee’s attorney in court.


I have to agree, but .075 is only .005 from being impaired/drunken in MOST states.  I would think it very wise for companies to furnish rides home after the imbibing–NOT because they are drunken–but because the sate laws state that they are, or at least very close to it.


Haven’t the Germans known this for, like forever? I have a number of German friends and tey grew up drinking beer throughout the day on the job, and it was always provided by the employers. Constructions workers, painters, and masons drink on the job all across the country and it’s quitely ignored and kept under the rug by most contractors. In one state I worked in if you asked construction workers or painters to stop drinking (or getting high) on the job they would all walk off the site.


You do know the Ballmer Peak thing doesn’t actually exist, right?  It was invented for the XKCD comic.   I assumed the reference was tongue-in-cheek, but then when you go on to explain it, it sounds like you’re serious.

I for SURE know that coming back from lunch a little tipsy makes me so much more productive. I think because of the serotonin release, makes me not care about any nagging duties or tasks and I just have an overall feeling of do what it takes to get the job done and not care about it being “work”. Im also much more friendly and conversational with my coworkers and just makes the day a lot more enjoyable. Im talking 2 or 3 6% ABV beers btw. But in order for this to be effective and not hindering, Lunch needs… Read more »

Matt, This is for you!


MMom xxxooo

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