The traditional Friday evening after-work drink is one of the best ways to relieve stress after a hard week, according to new research for the Industrial Society.
In a wide-ranging study of the way in which the working environment affects people's lives, author Judith Doyle criticises the long hours and time-pressured culture which has grown up in many businesses in recent years.
"Gossip is the cement which holds organisations together," said Doyle, "and an hour in the pub after work can actually improve productivity as well as help staff to unwind.
"Employers should give their staff more room to enjoy their work, and instead of seeing sociability as the antithesis of efficiency and productivity, they should see it as crucial to the bottom line."
Relaxing in a pub for an hour after work could also relieve the stress that causes rush-hour road rage, making drivers safer on their journey home.
The report corresponds with customer trends which Bass Leisure Retail has noted over the past year, and started to act upon. Bar brand All Bar One attributes a substantial proportion of a 10 per cent rise in customers to a new trend for work colleagues to spend more nights out together.
Mark Sullivan, All Bar One brand manager, said: "We've noticed people are staying longer to talk with colleagues, which is all part of a trend where people are socialising more."
From last week, O'Neill's outlets began offering free chips and dips for groups of six or more workers coming into the Bass Irish-themed pubs between 5pm and 7pm on Fridays. The offer forms part of the O'Neill's "life in perspective" marketing programme, which encourages people to think about more than just work.