On average, people believe themselves to be 39% less effective at work when they came in drunk or hungover.

Anecdotally many of us know that trying to achieve anything at work on a hangover is difficult, and a study from the University of Bath has confirmed this. It found that the effects of alcohol on our mental processing could extend to the day after a session of heavy drinking. Senior study author Sally Adams, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University said having a “hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving, and workplace skills such as concentration and memory.”  

Ways alcohol can cost your organisation:

  • Reduced productivity through absenteeism or presenteeism
  • Lost working days
  • Increased health care costs
  • Increased stress or inter-office tension
  • Reduced quality of work

The cost of being hungover at work

reducing company costs A new report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) has found that as many as 89,000 people may be turning up to work hungover, or under the influence of alcohol, every day in the UK; and has estimated that the cost of hangovers to the economy is £1.4 billion a year. 

The findings, from a survey of British workers, showed that 42% of people had been to work hungover or intoxicated. It also found that higher earners, and therefore key decision makers within businesses, were more likely to have gone to work hungover or under the influence. With 29% of people earning under £10,000 a year admitting to working hungover, compared to 55% of people earning over £60,000.

On average, people believe themselves to be 39% less effective when they were drunk or hungover. Based on average labour costs, and how frequently people are hungover whilst at work, this implies a cost to the UK economy of between £1.2 billion and £1.4 billion a year. A separate study found that employees were less productive at work on 44 million days over the last year due to alcohol. As well as alcohol-related absence, lost productivity due to consumption of alcohol has a major impact on businesses. 

The UK Government has estimated that alcohol-related harm costs the economy a massive £7.3 billion from lost work days and productivity, however the recent IAS figures suggest that this estimate should rise to £8.7 billion. This is a global issue. Alcohol also has a major impact on US businesses with a CDC study suggesting that excessive drinking is draining the American economy, mostly due to losses in workplace productivity.  

The impact of alcohol in the workplace

Alcohol use can have many negative impacts, including an impact on workplace safety, creating an unsafe work environment with higher risks and increased accidents, and an adverse effect on workplace relationships with co-workers, clients and customers. The effects of drinking alcohol can impact on behaviour e.g. an employee affected by alcohol may act unprofessionally towards clients and customers in work situations; and workers may be resentful for covering for others affected by alcohol or a hangover. As referenced above, workplace productivity is also inhibited due to short-term absenteeism and a lower quality and quantity of work when employees are hungover due to poor decision making, concentration skills and an impaired memory.

Hangovers, and alcohol-related absences, cost workplaces millions every year as a result of increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, greater stress and a negative effect on team morale. Investing in an alcohol-free corporate wellness programme like One Year No Beer can  be a beneficial way to improve your employees wellbeing, whilst saving your business money by improving productivity levels and reducing alcohol-related stress and absence. 

Investing in an alcohol-free work culture

investment in wellnessWorkplace factors, including working conditions, workplace customs, practices and environments can increase the risk of individual alcohol use and influence individual drinking patterns. This can impact on the health and overall productivity of the businesses. We need to work to change the way we, and our employees, see and interact with alcohol.

Introducing an initiative like One Year No Beer can be a great way to help your employees change their relationship with alcohol, and work towards greater overall health. Not only will individuals feel healthier and happier, but your business will also save money, and may generate more income, thanks to higher productivity, lower stress levels and improved office relationships.

One Year No Beer has been designed to help people put alcohol in its place; helping them to feel better than ever and to discover their hidden potential. The online offering consists of 3 main programmes; the 28, 90 and 365-day alcohol-free challenges. Each challenge has been designed to help people change their relationship with alcohol through mindset shifts and they are the ideal companion to educate employees that they do not need alcohol to be confident, relax or to have a good time. 

With an alcohol-free corporate wellness programme you can demonstrate your business's commitment to creating a workplace culture that benefits your employees health and wellness as well as your profit margins – by working to improve the relationship your employees have with drinking, you’ll be able to drastically reduce the costs related to alcohol in the workplace.


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If you are interested in finding out more about OYNB and the corporate programs for alcohol-free challenges, contact [email protected] or visit www.oneyearnobeer.com

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