Over 50% of British employees are drinking midweek to cope with the stress of life, research by vouchercloud.com has found.
The study by the leading discount website also found that almost a quarter (24%) of those who admitted to drinking during the week have called in sick to work on at least one occasion due to a hangover.
59% of respondents admitted to drinking alcohol even when they knew that they had to work the following day, with nearly half of that number (42%) acknowledging that they drink ‘a little too much’. Just over one-third (34%) said that they drink only ‘one or two’.
This level of alcohol consumption may not be a concern in itself. However, the main reason that respondents gave for drinking on a work night raises some serious questions about employee wellbeing.
Nearly three quarters of employees (71%) agreed with the statement that drinking helped to relieve some of the stress of the week, whilst 60% agreed that drinking ‘wasn’t the plan, but it usually happens’. Both of these responses suggest that employees feel a lack of control.
The third most popular response, ‘everyone else was drinking, it would have been rude not to’ (39%) implies clear societal pressure to drink even when a person would rather not.
Despite the prevalence of midweek drinking the respondents do not necessarily agree that doing so is a good idea; 49% of those who drink on a work night stated that they had gone on to regret doing so the next day.
Greg Guilford, CEO of HR Solutions said: “You often hear about work-life balance in the context of people working too hard and not taking enough time off. However, this research shows that it can also go the other way. Drinking irresponsibly the night before work will almost certainly have a negative effect on your ability to do your job.”
“The reason that the majority of employees gave for drinking is the biggest concern. A reliance on alcohol is not a healthy coping mechanism for stress, and can ultimately make your situation worse.”
It may not always be a wellbeing issue that causes people to go out drinking the night before work. However, their reason for doing so is not necessarily important. It is reasonable to expect that your employees turn up to work on time and in a fit enough state to carry out their duties if you are paying them to do so.
When an employee’s personal life impedes on their ability to do their job properly then it becomes a work issue, in which case you can manage it accordingly. If someone turns up to work affected by alcohol you should suspend them, send them home, and then deal with the matter under your disciplinary procedure.