The Lloyd’s Booze Ban – When Strategy and Culture collide

Did I just wake up from my drunken slumber to find we are now living in Orwell’s 1984?

The recent decision to impose a blanket ban on alcohol during the working day by Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) predictably did not go down too well with its staff…especially as it came out of the blue without any prior consultation.

At a time when the technology firms around London are falling over themselves to introduce exciting, innovative workplaces for their staff (not necessarily including alcohol, but definitely not excluding it!), has Lloyd’s made a stand for common sense…..or has it damaged its brand in the process?

The reasons for the ban

Evidently, Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) took this zero tolerance decision after it found that half of all disciplinary cases were alcohol-related.


The ban prohibits the 800 or so employee’s from consuming alcohol between 9am – 5pm on any given working day, with the threat of a gross misconduct charge if found guilty:


“Drinking alcohol affects individuals differently, A zero limit is therefore simpler, more consistent, and in line with the modern, global, and high performance culture that we want to embrace.”


Fortunately (for the London pubs and restaurants) this ban doesn’t apply to the non-Lloyd’s brokers and underwriters who make the market (and surrounding area) such a vibrant place, as they have for the last 400 years or so.

The impact upon Lloyd’s branding and culture – discuss?

The cost of toeing the line, of having a permanent job, would seem to be getting higher and higher . What if you come into work hungover from the night before in this new atmosphere of ‘zero tolerance’; would you be deemed to be unfit for work and sent home?


What would happen if this rule were to be introduced on the Continent…and indeed how vigorously will this rule be enforced?


What effect will it have on staff if they are continuously viewed as suspects?


Greater freedom for ‘new economy’ means flexible working conditions but with no security, whilst greater restrictions on the ‘old economy’ signifies increasing inflexibility, albeit with some job security…but for how much longer?


As one employee asked, innocently:

Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?