Are Your Employees Turning to Drink?

Posted
22/02/2022

As the working week draws to a close, many of us look forward to opening a bottle of wine, or having a cold beer. But with the lines between home and work blurring post-pandemic and with a third of British adults drinking more alcohol now than before the crisis[1], how can responsible employers support an employee who might be worried about their own drinking?

If we examine the facts, it’s clear that most employers will have people who drink to dangerously high levels within their workforce. About 80% of the UK population drink alcohol and around 24% of adults agree they regularly drink more than the recommended 14 units per week[2]. The more money people earn, the more likely they are to drink alcohol[3], and the more alcohol they are likely to drink.[4]  Workplace stress is often cited as a reason to reach for the bottle, with one in four employees reporting that they use alcohol cope with overwhelm at work.[5]

The workplace can often be an enabler that normalises a drinking culture, but equally it can often be the place where issues with alcohol are first identified and where people can find the support they need to reset their relationship with alcohol before serious issues arise.

Unfortunately, the fear of being labelled an alcoholic means that many workers won’t ask for help from their employer, but that shouldn’t be a reason to assume that no one needs it. There are some really simple, low-cost steps that employers can take which can have life-changing consequences for their staff.

A useful starting point is to introduce the concept of grey area drinking, which can help people who are concerned about their alcohol consumption to understand that they are not alone. The workplace can also be the perfect setting to learn that there’s a growing movement of people choosing to live without alcohol and to signpost the wealth of resources that people can access free of charge in the privacy of their own homes.

I recently received an email which said, “I had no idea there was an entire world out there of people who, like me, were worried about their drinking.  There’s no way I’d every have gone to AA, but thanks to your help I am now 60 days alcohol free, and I am so much happier! It all started with your positive session on Sunshine Sobriety at work. I cannot thank you enough.”

[1] https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/a-third-drinking-more-alcohol-than-before-pandemic/

[2] Office for National Statistics (2018). Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2017.

[3] NHS Digital (2019). Health Survey for England, 2018: Adults’ health related behaviours report (version 2).

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/drugusealcoholandsmoking/datasets/adultdrinkinghabits

[5] https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/one-in-four-workers-turns-to-alcohol-to-cope-with-work-pressure/

For inspiration, motivation, and resources for the sober curious with absolutely no judgement whatsoever, visit Spotlight on Sobriety.

 

Janet Hadley