Drinking at work is still popular, and nearing Mad Men levels

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Drinking at the office

Getting blackout drunk at the office might sound like an old-timey work activity of a bygone era, but according to a new study, it's still pretty popular, particularly in advertising. "In a knowledge economy, productivity comes in fits and starts, not on an hourly basis," said one expert, explaining why ad companies and web startups in particular tend to encourage employees to get the creative, uh, juices flowing.

According to researchers, the majority of major advertising agencies — BBDO, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Grey, and Mindshare, to name a few — make sure their employees have in-house access to liquor and beer, while Yelp has on-site "Keggerators" for their staff. Representatives for companies explain that the majority of workplace drinking takes place after hours, but research also supports the idea that knocking a few back can actually boost creativity:

"Individuals were brought to a blood alcohol content of approximately .075, and, after reaching peak intoxication, completed a batter of [Remote Associates Test] items, in less time, and were more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight."

Another expert adds that alcohol can help "shut off the self-censoring aspect of the brain," thus fostering creative problem-solving. This new information raises some obvious questions: why has my office not yet bankrolled a gratis drink cart? And why is it that drinking apparently makes some people better at their jobs, when my only "sudden insight" comes in the form of snack ideas? Could these two issues possibly be related?