Going alcohol-free is an increasing trend in across the UK, especially in millennials. If you want to attract top talent, you may need to consider changing up business etiquette with regards to alcohol.
How to change your business's approach to alcohol:
Take the time to learn why the trend for going alcohol-free is becoming more popular. Knowing what your talent pool want from their employer with regard to alcohol will help you to shape an attractive workplace.
Be inclusive to those who wish to drink, and those who don't. Ensure any team building or work events offer alternatives for individuals who choose not to drink alcohol.
Find creative and innovative ways to entertain business partners, employees and customers that do not require alcohol. By doing something different, you set yourself out from the crowd.
Being alcohol-free is in vogue
From business events to birthday celebrations, alcohol-free festivities are becoming increasingly popular. Millennials in particular are increasingly trading drunken dancing followed by hangovers and bacon rolls at their desks on a Friday morning, for evenings of conversational clarity and hangover-free weekends. And it might be in their employer’s interests to not only begin to keep up with the trend, but also understand why. As of 2017, millennials became the largest proportion of the workforce, and they are notoriously difficult to keep hold of, with around 20% having changed jobs in the past year. This is almost three times higher than the other generations in the workforce, and 60% saying they are open to a different job opportunity. So if you want to keep your workforce engaged for the long term, it might be worth reconsidering how you approach alcohol in the workplace.
Millennials aren’t looking to drink and drugs to have a good time. A recent survey by Eventbrite found that only one in ten think getting drunk is “cool”, with four in ten having an overall negative view of someone who is drunk, thinking it is “pathetic” or “embarrassing” (their words!).
Facing problems head on
Millennials also aren’t using stimulants to distract themselves from their stressors – in fact, they would rather face them. In an article by Olivia Rudgard, social affairs correspondent in the Telegraph, she and the experts she interviewed theorised that while it’s often said that the previous generations used drugs and booze to ‘hide their problems’, millennials are happier to talk openly about them.
On top of that, they care enormously about their health. Compared to previous generations, millennials view their health on a holistic level, and are more likely to focus on day-to-day health choices that they believe will maintain health on a longer-term basis.
Having meaning and purpose
They also care. A lot, from championing meaning and purpose in the workplace, to sustainability and the environment (an online study found millennials are continually the most willing to pay extra for sustainable products than any other older generation). Mindfulness could also be a factor. Research by Heineken found 75% of millennials said they limited how much they drank when they went out. The main motivating factors? Self-awareness and staying in control, self-awareness being a huge part of mindfulness.
Alcohol-free here to stay?
It doesn’t look like this trend is set to change any time soon, with the generation below them also turning away from the temptation of alcohol too; two years ago the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of under-25’s choosing total abstinence from alcohol had leapt by 40 per cent in eight years. Young people have overtaken the elderly as the most sober generation.
So, could it be that the largest proportion of the workforce, and most influential spending power would rather meditate, do yoga and then sit and talk openly over a glass of sustainably sourced green juice, than mindlessly eat steak and drink copious amounts of red wine and over a client lunch?
How to change up how you do business:
It could also be that when business relationships or team building is based solely around drinking, that businesses could be excluding certain demographics from their networks, teams and business relationships. If someone does not drink alcohol due to a religious belief, because they are allergic to it, have had addiction problems, or simply prioritise their health over drinking on a regular basis, it might be difficult, or to say the least, boring for them to spend time in places where drinking is the culture, or around people who are using alcohol in an extreme way to get drunk. Ultimately, should businesses not create a safe, equal and inclusive space for their employees when socialising, networking and securing deals, as they do in the office during working hours? And could this inclusivity create a more diverse, creative and productive team of employees, if everyone feels welcome and considered?
So, staying ahead of the curve and keeping on trend, plus creating inclusive and diverse social business events could make your business more attractive to the larger proportion of the workforce, and potential clients now and into the future. Take the OYNB Challenge to change up the way you do business, and learn how to embrace alcohol-free business activities.
Find new ways to entertain
By thinking outside the box and coming up with innovate ways to entertain new clients, partners or employees you may find this is the defining factor that sets you apart from your competitors. Being alcohol-free doesn't mean boring, in fact quite the opposite!
6 ways to do alcohol-free entertainment…
Juice crawls. Gaining more and more popularity in the US, juice crawls are the new bar crawl which not only leave you feeling wonderful the night of, but the morning after too. Simply choreograph a route of your local health stores, cafes and restaurants and hit up as many different juices, shots and elixirs as you can manage! Add another step by taking a mindful moment after each one to feel intuitively into how each one made you feel in your body.
Sober Dance raves. For those who can’t shift the urge to let loose, take your clients to a sober day rave! Head to Dancing Tao for a post client dinner chaser on Thursdays, or Morning Gloryville for a team building Wednesday morning pick-me-up.
Enlightertainment. Attach yourself to the wellness trend of enlightenment; sound baths, hire some of the top wellness authors to come in and speak exclusively to your team, go to a meditation or mindfulness class, go to a live gig, talk or workshop.
Embrace the clean eating movement. Set up a tasting menu at a health restaurant or vegan eatery, or set up a group cookery lesson. Attach yourself to the wellness trend: sound baths, meditation classes, mindfulness courses, nature walks, hire some of the top wellness authors to come in and speak exclusively
Get exclusive. Make your client feel special by setting up an exclusive private tour, museum visit or guided walk.
Get active. From cycle tours, weekly yoga or fitness classes, nature walks or even a regular running club.
So the next time you are organising an event for your business, consider the ways in which you can help to relieve the beer pressure, and be more inclusive to those choosing not to drink.
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.
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