Confessions of a City of London workplace drinker 1979-
The diktat by Lloyds in the City of London that daytime drinking by their employees must end has caused much comment in the City this week. How do I know? I have an office in the City a few minutes walk from the Stock Exchange HQ.
Back in the day I was a manager nowadays I’m a union officer representing managers (entirely in the private sector). There would certainly be an issue if any workplace I represent people in ‘banned’ drinking during the day without discussing the matter fully with the union. Apparently Lloyds found that a good number of workplace grievances related to alcohol fuelled behaviour. I handle a lot of grievances but I don’t recall the last one that dealt with that particular issue.
The reality is that people are just too busy working in the neo-liberal workplace to go off down the pub during the day. Of course many, as I do, often work remotely in the days of e-mail and mobiles, and in theory could work in the pub all day. I doubt many do. Again work presses.
When I started working life in 1979 matters looked very different. Then the issue was not too much work but too little. There were workplace bars which opened from 12-2(some had hand pumps..). When they shut often people went to the pub leaving their jacket on their chair to indicate they were sort of around. In the days before email and mobiles that meant people were uncontactable. Sometimes, but not often, a messenger would appear in the pub demanding a recall if some particularly awkward event had happened.
Personally although I like a drink, I found the workplace drinking culture very boring indeed. Do you really want to get half pissed in the afternoon so you can’t do much later in the day. Mostly I don’t..
Regular readers of my blog will know that even now I do occasionally indulge in a drink in the Square Mile during the working day. For example before Xmas I was to be found pursuing a glass of Young’s Winter Warmer in a pub next door to the Stock Exchange.
A half pint of beer was not however what the City drinking culture was and perhaps in a few places still is about.