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5 Things to watch out for when integrating work with play in the office

The number of start-ups that have come up in recent years has changed the way employees spend their work hours at the office or workspace. Several millennialcentric start-ups from the Silicon Valley such as Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Esty have redefined the workplay balance to boost employee morale making the work place seem like a second home. The luxury of an in-office bar has set the tone for the atmosphere of  happy hour all day every day!

If you own an office space and are contemplating building your own innovative new bar or grabbing some occasional booze on special events it is a fantastic idea for employee engagement. As all things, you must proceed with care and implement rules of play from day one. Here are some tips to bear in mind before you say cheers:

It’s not ok to drink 24/7
It goes without saying that before important client meetings or when driving is involved in the day its not ok to drink. It may be a wise idea to put in place times where it is okay to have a drink, and other times during the day where there is a fridge lock in place.

Ensure only staff over the age of 18 are permitted to drink:
Check for underage employees, trainees or interns in your company and steer them clear of the company’s bar. Though laws are subject to change statewise, in several states, Social host laws—legislation that penalizes adults who host underage drinking on their property or premises—are in play and employers can be taken to task for any accidents, mishaps or injuries caused or sustained by a minor employed.

Drunken driving kills:
Different states are bound by different laws with certain states having that the social host cannot be held responsible in the case of someone aged 18 and plus associated with drunk driving crashes. While in other states, social hosts can be held responsible if someone drinks at the office and inflicts harm on oneself and others.  The golden rule is not to drink and drive. Drunken employees at office parties should be encouraged to use taxi or cabs; the companies must be glad that they paid for it.

Deal with unwanted advances at work:
There have been reported frequent incidents of sexual harassment at workplace particularly when employees hit the bottle. And if a study by Cornell in 2004 is anything to go by, the number of women harassments reports has doubled when male coworkers drink more than recommended. Your company is bound by moral and legal responsibilities to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Establish office’s drinking policy, if necessary:
Not everyone wants to drink and not everyone wants to interact with people drinking at work.  If you’re planning of setting up an office bar, it is important to realise how it would impact your employees and do what is best for your company. Having non-alcoholic beverages is a good idea to create a more social environment for the non-drinkers.

At the end of the day an office bar has a lot of positives for the employee morale and can inject a tonne of fun and creativity into the work place. However, this article highlights the cons of integrating an office bar. Ultimately it comes down to the rules you implement in the work place and the type of industry that you service. An option is to always have a trial period before decking the place out with a flash bar!