Workplace Wellness: Alcohol Awareness at Christmas

With the festive season fast approaching, workplaces large and small are planning for their Christmas parties. This can bring additional pressures and responsibilities for both employers and employees. Here are a few pointers which you might like to share with staff prior to Christmas.


If you are involved in planning your work Christmas party, remember to include alcohol-free options. Non-alcoholic beers, spirits and wine are more widely – and popular – available than ever so be sure to add to your list. You could also get creative with mocktails and make this an interactive part of the event. Line managers should be aware not to encourage drinking to excess or binge drinking (six or more standard drinks in one sitting). Sometimes the culture of an organisation can lead a person to drink more than they intended to.


Remind staff of the morning-after effect. Our drinks calculator can help you understand when it might be safe to drive the morning after by showing an estimate of the number of hours it might take to process the alcohol you consumed. Please remember that this is a guide only. There are many different factors that can affect this time, making it almost impossible to work out the exact time a person is safe to drive. For that reason, our advice echoes that of the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána, that any amount of alcohol will impair your ability to drive. Never, ever drive after consuming any alcohol.


Although the Christmas carol says “merry”, Christmas can be a season of poor mental health for some people. It can be a stressful time of year with everything that needs to be done, and if you are feeling anxious sometimes Christmas can add to the pressure you feel. Add to that the pressure to socialise with people you may not normally spend time with, and it can all add up.

Make sure you are not using alcohol to manage any anxiety, stress or depression. Find healthier ways to manage your mood such as exercise, time with good friends and family, and adequate sleep.


If you have an intranet, share the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines with your staff. Just 2% of Irish adults know these guidelines but they can really help to understand the impact of alcohol.

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Common examples of one standard drink are a half pint of lager/stout/cider, a 100ml glass of wine or pub measure (35.5ml) of spirits. This means a woman’s weekly guidelines is less than one and a half bottles of wine, which is less than many people think.


Drinkaware’s evidence-informed workplace wellness options include workshops, webinars, health promotion resources and staffed information stand (when Covid-19 restrictions allow). We know that every business is different. Talk to us today about creating a bespoke package for your organisation.

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