Salesforce alcohol ban shows changing attitudes toward drinking at work
- Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, reminded the firm's 25,000 employees that alcohol is not permitted at work after spotting kegs and alcoholic drinks in the office last month, CNBC reports.
- Office drinking is, on one hand, growing in popularity, especially in the tech industry, CNBC says. Twitter, Glassdoor, Yelp and GitHub all allow it in some form. But at the same time, a growing number of companies — like Zenefits — are moving in the opposite direction as they attempt to remedy larger culture problems. Uber is reportedly considering a ban, too.
- Not all Salesforce employees were happy about the reminder. CNBC says some took to Blind, an anonymous app, to air their complaints.
Allowing alcohol at work likely began as a way to signal that the company culture was relaxed and willing to treat employees like adults — but a strong, employee-focused culture requires more than just that.
In fact, allowing alcohol at work without any limits in place could send the message that a "party" culture is acceptable, potentially setting the tone for unwanted behavior like sexual harassment and other misconduct. Uber may very well be considering such a ban as part of its attempt at a culture shift.
For companies looking to create culture that empowers employees (but also hoping to reduce their risk), there are myriad ways to do so that don't involve a party culture. Employers can focus on core values and enabling employees to do their work on their own terms.