07/05/2008

Boozing Workers A Growing Concern For Employers

Alcohol misuse is becoming a rising concern for employers, according to a study by a leading insurance provider.

Norwich Union Healthcare has found that a third of employees admitted to going to work with a hangover and 15% said they were drunk at work.

Of those that admitted that they either had a hangover or were drunk, 85% said that it affected their performance or mood.

The study also found that 77% of employers felt that alcohol is the biggest threat to employee wellbeing and that it encouraged sick leave.

The poll quizzed 1000 people and 250 businesses.

Results showed that the worst culprits for employees turning up with a hangover or still under the influence are in the media and creative jobs sector – a worrying 41% which is four times the average.

A fifth of people in construction and 15% of those working in wholesale and agriculture go to work with a hangover once every week. A third of construction workers and a quarter in manufacturing admitted that they made mistakes that they needed to fix the following day.

Dr Douglas Wright from Norwich Union Health care said that alcohol and the workplace "often go hand in hand".

Mr Wright said that it is "essential that companies have a robust Drug and Alcohol Policy and Procedure to tackle and, where possible, prevent any problems developing".

Don Shenker from Alcohol Concern said that "after work or lunchtime drinks are the norm for many" and in some cases this behaviour is promoted as a way "to do business". He warned that employers need to watch out for the "early signs" that alcohol might be affecting their workers.

Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University said that employee drinking was a "manifestation of stress" and that it was "endemic" in certain industries.

(DS)


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