Thursday, January 17, 2008

Beer Benefits

This is not a post on health benefits of beer, but beer as an employment benefit. A couple weeks ago Career Builder put out a story about companies in the US keeping their employees happy with different out-of-the-box ideas. A common perk was beer, free and on site. In fact, the company listed as having the best perks was an ad agency that had Boulevard beer on tap, available to employees after 4PM.

I've worked in a couple of places that allowed a beer at the end of a given shift, one place let us call it quites 30 minutes early on Friday to sit together and enjoy a beer together in the break room. It's funny how cheap it is to make a small difference in employee morale, that was an awful warehouse job, but I have nothing but fond memories sitting with my boss and co-workers having a can of Bud (no, craft beer wasn't in the picture).

At my most recent job the company had quarterly parties on site where beer and wine poured for those interested. In fact, this was an important part of the work culture, as there's something refreshing and freeing about sharing a glass of beer with your manager, co-workers or even people from other departments you're only beginning to get to know. Come to think of it, I can't think of a real reason more employers don't have programs like this.

I was up at the region's newest brewery earlier in the week, Auburn Alehouse, and while sitting a group of sixteen walked in, still wearing their name badges and clearly part of a work group. I don't know who they were, but I can imagine them in the office perhaps having a tough week, or going through a training seminar. Here, away from the office and each with a beer in their hand, they were buddies.

It turns out I don't really have a point to this post, only that I think more companies should consider beer days. It's an inexpensive way to foster strong relationships and bring people together after a rough day/week in the office/warehouse/yard/field, and if you're anything like me the good memories of sharing a beer with a co-worker may be the best memory your employees have.