The ‘Mad Men’ days are over as ad group WPP bans drinking alcohol in the office

The rattle of the drinks trolley will no longer be heard at companies belonging to ad agency group WPP as it has banned drinking in the office.

It has updated its policy on alcohol in the workplace, stating "No drinks trolleys should be provided nor alcohol consumed at desks."

It's a far cry from TV series "Mad Men," set in the 1960s, where liquid lunches were common at the Sterling Cooper agency and everyone had a drinks cabinet in their office.

The WPP group, which lists 406 individual companies on its website, also encouraged agencies to limit alcohol to designated areas such as dining rooms, lounges and on-site bars, according to a document seen by trade publication PR Week. WPP wants to restrict drinking time to "generally no more than two hours" outside the workday.

A 'Mad Men' exhibit from the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, 2015
Timothy A. Clary | Getty Images
A 'Mad Men' exhibit from the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, 2015

Food, free water and non-alcoholic beverages should also be available, and agencies should respect the wishes of individuals who choose not to drink alcohol, the updated policy states.

Other companies have updated their drinks policies or reinforced them. In November, Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff wrote an internal post reminding staff of its no alcohol policy, after he saw liquor in refrigerators and beer kegs in offices.

Meanwhile, insurer Lloyd's of London made headlines when it banned drinking during office hours in February 2017. "Lloyd's has a duty to be a responsible employer, and provide a healthy working environment. The policy we've introduced aligns us with many firms in the market," it stated at the time.

But the new Lloyd's policy did not find popularity with all staff, with one employee telling CNBC that deals are struck during lunchtime drinks and that the ban was not appreciated by many, especially the sales team.

Separately, WPP is currently investigating CEO Martin Sorrell after "an allegation of personal misconduct." No specific details about the nature of the allegations were given by WPP and the ongoing investigation doesn't appear to be material to the business, the company's statement said last week. The company may publish the findings of its investigation next week, Reuters reported Monday. Sorrell has said he rejects the allegation "unreservedly."

WPP declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Spriha Srivastava contributed to this report.