Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: The case for Monday after-work drinks

The much-loved tradition is robbing us of a proper weekend.
Spending Saturday nursing a hangover makes no sense. Photo / Michael Craig
Spending Saturday nursing a hangover makes no sense. Photo / Michael Craig

It's a tradition as old and celebrated as our great nation: working hard all week, then letting off steam on a Friday night. Kiwis love nothing more than being treated by their bosses to office drinks. This is usually followed by a group trip to the pub, followed by a trip to another pub, followed by an Uber/taxi ride home that we don't remember. Then it's an entire Saturday feeling so terrible we can't be bothered doing anything.

It's a popular system that has worked brilliantly for generations. But I believe it's time to make a change.

The current system has three major flaws. For a start, you're spending your Friday night at work. Sure, it's a different vibe from the rest of the week - you're listening to loud music, standing on the desks and doing stupid things with tools or stationery. You're settling scores, wearing less and dancing more than you normally would. But you're still at work and if you're not getting paid, shouldn't you get the hell out of there?

The second problem is family-related. Why do we work? To pay the mortgage and support our families. What's the point of busting a gut for your family but not getting to enjoy your time with them? No one likes standing on the sideline on a Saturday trying not to throw up. You've worked hard. You deserve happy family time. Why are we celebrating the end of the working week so hard we can't enjoy our weekend with the people we love. It's a massive own-goal.

Thirdly, leaving the office at midnight then spending Saturday feeling crap effectively cuts your weekend down to one day. Worse, as you have done nothing around the house on Saturday, Sunday becomes a painful domestic chores/admin punisher. Friday work drinks may be robbing you of a weekend.

So what's the answer? How do we fix work drinks without destroying a Kiwi tradition we love?

Simple. Move work drinks to Monday night.

Drinking early in the week is generally frowned upon. Received business thinking is along these lines: it puts you on the back foot for the rest of the week; lowers productivity; increases tardiness and extends lunchtimes. I disagree.

If you really concentrate, you can give 100 per cent around the office the day after a massive night.

A Monday work drinks initiative would still allow us to let off steam with fellow employees, which is hugely important. However, instead of feeling crap on our precious weekends we'd be feeling bad at work on Tuesday. Win-win. Quality time with our families and fellow employees.

Productivity doesn't need to be affected. The office environment is different from home. You have to be at work. There is a certain amount of work that needs to be done. There are people overseeing how much you do. There are fewer temptations to laziness and more obligations than home. If you really concentrate, you can give 100 per cent around the office the day after a massive night.

Monday drinks will bring harmony to our households. By Friday, your family has hardly seen you all week. They want you home as soon as possible. Monday not so much. They have seen you all weekend. If anything, they want a break. They will care a lot less if you are late home Monday night than Friday.

So how do we make Monday drinks a reality? Firstly, any successful initiative needs upper management support. When it comes to drinking initiatives, the higher up the company the better. Productive workplaces operate synergistically. If the lowest intern has a massive hangover on Tuesday morning, the chief executive should have one too.

Friday work drinks have served our nation well for a long time. We love them. We are proud of them. So like the flag, we should think long and hard before we make a change. But it's 2016. Work environments are changing faster than ever. We are all trying to innovate.

I believe Monday work drinks is the kind of forward-thinking initiative that this country needs to put us back on track.

Of course, actions speak louder than words. We all have to do our part to make this happen. I for one will be showing my support by getting a full head of steam up at my desk tonight after work. Who's with me?

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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