05 MAY, 2015

Five Elements of the Mad Men Workplace Culture We Should Bring Back

There is no doubt that part of the fascination of watching Mad Men is the depiction of a bygone era, where everyone wore a suit to work, a lit cigarette was a fashionable accessory, and women were struggling for basic equality. As the series winds down and the golden era of Sterling Cooper & Price ends, let’s take a look at some of aspects of the Mad Men workplace culture we should bring back today.

Happy hour at workThe office cocktail

Drinking at work has the potential to get out of hand, but it can also be a great way to let off some steam, get the creative juices flowing, and form bonds with your co-workers if done in moderation. Many companies today (especially trendy ad agencies and tech startups) are bringing booze back, usually with beer rather than hard liquor. Cheers!

Don draper alone in private office spacePrivacy

With the open office trend running rampant, it’s nice to look back on the days when you could close the door to your office, actually be alone with your thoughts, and NOT hear your neighbor crunching on his cereal in the morning. Open offices have been adopted as a way to cut costs and fit more people into a smaller space, despite all the claims that they are meant to increase productivity and collaboration. Many people who work in these environments say they actually achieve the opposite with a myriad of distractions, as well as stress on those who cherish their personal space, even if it’s in a cubicle.

mad men don draper naps in the officeTaking naps

When you have a private office and a couch like many of the SC&P employees, getting in an afternoon power nap is a real possibility. A NASA study showed that napping for just 26 minutes can boost productivity by as much as 34% and increase alertness by 54%. Companies like Google and HubSpot have embraced the idea and provide comfortable nap rooms for their employees.

mad men 3 martini lunch breakActually leaving the office for lunch

Today many of us spend our lunch hours staring at our computer screens while wolfing down a sandwich. In fact, research shows that only one in five employees step away from their desk to eat. Staying in one location with no change of scenery actually hampers creativity. Even if you eat at your desk, stepping out for a walk or getting in a quick workout are great ways to energize and re-focus.

Peggy leaves the office mad menLeaving work at work

In the days of yore, before the internet and smart phones, no one could reach you outside of work if you were not home to answer your phone. And even then, the home phone call was saved as a last resort. Today, 59% of Americans say they use their mobile devices to do work outside the office. Being constantly plugged in can have detrimental effects, such as burnout, loss of sleep, and decrease in overall productivity.


Share this insight: