An employee in your workforce wants to quit alcohol. How can you support them within the workplace?

It can seem like a daunting task, especially as an HR professional – you have a lot of responsibility in regards to the welfare of your staff. Going alcohol-free is becoming more and more popular nowadays, so it is necessary to be prepared with what to say and do if one of your workforce is looking to take a break from drinking.

How to support an employee going alcohol-free:

  • Encourage open communication.
  • Understand their reasons and motivations for taking a break from alcohol.
  • Encourage others to participate – it is easier when there is a group who can support one another in the same challenge.
  • Organise alcohol-free events.
  • Be understanding and encouraging through any slip ups.
  • Do your research into the resources available to help.

We’ve previously talked about why businesses should encourage employees to take a break from alcohol, but here’s a quick refresher. Taking a break from alcohol improves your quality of sleep – helping you to feel more energised at work the next day; improves your general health – meaning you take fewer days off work due to illness, and improves your focus and concentration – helping you to get more done in your workday. 

So, if an employee comes to you for help and advice around giving up alcohol, it’s important to encourage them. Not just for their own needs, but also because of the multitude of benefits it can bring your business. 

Communication is key

The first step to helping someone go alcohol-free is to open the lines of communication. You should begin by discussing what their reasons are for their decision. There are a number of reasons why someone might choose to change their relationship with alcohol, and understanding what is motivating your employee is vital in your ability to support them. 

Different motivations need different styles of support; you can’t bundle them all together under one umbrella.

Understanding addiction

Employee wants to quit alcohol, telling HRThere are two different situations you could be facing as a HR professional; someone wanting to give up alcohol as a way to improve their health, or someone who is battling with an alcohol dependency problem. Both of these require very different approaches, and very different mindsets from both yourself and the individual you are working with.

If the issue is coming from a place of addiction, it’s important that you understand how to approach and support the individual. First of all, you shouldn’t be working through this on your own. Accessing trained professionals and additional support is vitally important. Services like Addaction offer a range of support covering both addiction and mental health to help guide someone through the necessary changes, but referring your employee to their GP should be your first port of call.

Encourage other employees

They don’t have to go it alone. You have a whole company full of employees that could benefit from taking a break from alcohol. If someone comes to you for help and advice, then why not suggest a group programme that could help more employees take a break from the drink. When someone stops drinking, their productivity, energy levels, and ability to focus all start to improve – which is great for businesses. Work with the management team to encourage more employees to work together, because going through this with someone else makes it so much easier.

Organise alcohol-free events

So many businesses today promote “Free Beer Fridays” or open-bar employee events. But, this will really hinder any employees trying to give up alcohol and can pile on the beer pressure. They might not feel like they can resist the temptation if they go to the event, and they’re also not benefitting from it the way other employees are. 

So, instead, work with your team to organise employee events that everyone can enjoy. Activity days, cultural outings, or even an alcohol-free mocktail night. Events like these don’t discriminate between your employees, and may even encourage others to participate in the no-alcohol programme. 

Support them through slip-ups

As with any challenge in life, it’s highly likely that they may slip-up at some point and give in to temptation. You can be there to remind that this only makes them human. Not being on track perfectly is expected, so help keep their motivation up if they confide in you that they slipped up. 

Work with them to get them back on track, and help them understand why they slipped up in the first place. This way you can help to avoid further setbacks on their alcohol-free journey. 

Understand the resources available

group of people working together quitting alcoholIt doesn’t all come down to you, thankfully. There are a lot of resources out there right now that can help both you and your employees make the move to an alcohol-free lifestyle. These resources can vary from support groups filled with people also giving up the alcohol, to online guides or email updates. 

One Year No Beer has all the resources an individual needs to change their relationship with alcohol successfully. Our online support groups help to keep you motivated throughout your journey, and our daily emails are filled with tips and advice to help you keep on track.

The Final Word

As an HR professional, it is your job to support employees and make sure they feel happy, valued, and satisfied in the workplace. While giving up alcohol is more of a personal endeavour than a professional one, the advantages can easily spill over into the workplace. An employee who is happy in themselves is likely to be happier at work. There are a number of tools out there that can help you and your employee through this journey. They don’t need to go it alone, and neither do you. OYNB is here to help you through.


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