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John Slattery and Jon Hamm in Mad Men.

Frank Ockenfels/AMC/Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Perhaps you have read the recent studies suggesting a shot or two of alcohol gets those mental juices flowing, and are now considering stocking the old cubicle with a fine bottle of Scotch to drink neat in true Mad Men style.

Some workplaces, according to ABC, have never dropped the tradition of the office tipple, citing several tech companies with workplace kegs and beer fridges. The story quotes Joe Beninato, chief executive officer of Californian app-maker Tello: "Our philosophy is that if we treat our employees like adults, they'll respond accordingly." To that end, ABC reports, Mr. Beninato's company supplies its employees, who work long hours, with beverages including alcohol and celebrates company victories with "Champagne or a shot of whisky."

But getting that brain brewing with a martini also carries its own potential buzz kill – and workplace dilemmas. If you don't drink, are you left out of the social action? And at time when alcohol abuse is taking its toll on the economy, is it a risky venture to have it flowing around the office?

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This Super Bowl beer commercial, which shows co-workers boozing it up in a workplace setting, prompted a cautionary essay from Harvard Health Publications, written by psychologist Joseph Nowinksi. The article cites a survey of 6,450 managers at 16 diverse workplaces that found nearly one-quarter of upper-level managers reported drinking during work hours in the previous month. According to the Harvard article, the study also stated that far from sparking creativity, drinking heavily the night before work, or right before or during work hours led to work performance issues.

"Given that so many Americans have trouble with alcohol, we could use fewer opportunities to drink, not more of them," Dr. Nowinski argues. "Relaxed corporate policies toward drinking on the job could nudge more employees into the almost alcohol zone and beyond."

And that's the catch in all those alcohol-fuels-creativity studies: A glass of wine may make that project sing. Chugging beer all day, not so much. Which is probably why, as ABC reports, the trendy San Francisco workplace of Yelp, a customer review website, lets its employees fill up at the keg – but also uses an iPad app to record how much they drink.

Do you or your colleagues drink at work? How would your employer feel about you pouring an alcoholic drink at your desk?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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