One in seven Irish workers (14%) reported work-related problems due to co-workers’ drinking, according to a 2018 report from the HSE. The specific problems most often mentioned were that the worker’s own productivity was reduced and having to cover for co-workers due to their drinking. Those more likely to report harm from co-workers’ drinking were men and those in the youngest age group.
However, it’s not just the workplace that can be impacted by alcohol. Without the right information and tools to understand their drinking habits, people may be unknowingly drinking at a level that is putting their health and wellbeing at risk. Regular binge drinking (six or more standard drinks in one sitting) increases these risks even further. The Drinkaware Index 2019 found that almost 1 in 5 Irish adults binge drink on a weekly basis. The research also revealed that on average, people were binge drinking 16 times in the last year, rising to almost twice a month for men.
Alcohol related costs to the workplace can be significant in a range of ways. Research shows that repeated binge drinking increases the risk of arriving to work late, leaving early and reduced productivity (presenteeism). Heavy drinking increases the risk of absenteeism, which was estimated to cost Irish businesses €41 million. Conversely, this pattern of excessive drinking also increases the risk of presenteeism, by as much as three-fold compared to light drinking.
Drinkaware’s workplace wellness options include workshops, staffed information stand, health promotion resources and more. Our resources provide evidence-based information about alcohol, tools to make it easier to understand drinking habits and tips to make small, positive changes to drink in a less harmful way. We know that every business is different. Our Workplace Wellness Manager, Marie Quinn, will discuss your needs and work with you to create the right programme for your organisation. Why not consider including alcohol awareness as part of your employee wellness programme?