One in four younger employees goes into work feeling drunk

One in four workers between the ages of 18 and 34 has gone to work still feeling drunk after the night before – and half of these employees have driven.

Research from Willis Towers Watson found that workers under 34 were twice as likely as their older colleagues to come into work still drunk, and older workers were also slightly less likely to drive on these occasions (44%).

Almost a fifth of workers (19%) said that their employer’s culture had contributed towards unhealthy levels of drinking, for example by encouraging alcohol consumption on staff nights out or paying for work drinks.

The morning after also has a damaging effect on productivity, with 27% of workers reporting that they have hangovers on a monthly basis that affect their ability to do their job. One in four 18- to 34-year-olds has taken sick days due to hangovers, compared to 13% over the age of 35.

Over a third of employees (38%) admitted they had taken time off for a hangover to their boss, according to WTW.

“These alarming findings suggest that far too many of Britain’s youth are putting their safety and wellbeing, and potentially the safety of others, at risk,” said Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at the reward consulting company.

“The human body is only capable of processing, on average, one unit of alcohol per hour. Binge drinking can mean that alcohol remains in the bloodstream many hours later. Those drinking heavily on nights out can consequently be still feeling the effects of their alcohol consumption the next day.

“With Christmas just around the corner and party season starting, the likelihood of workers coming into work still feeling drunk increases. Companies should be looking at what they can do to support workers and educate them on the dangers of excessive drinking on work nights.”

Just one in 10 employees said their employer provided them with health advice on alcohol consumption, however.

Blake added: “A failure to discourage or to inadvertently fan the flames of alcohol misuse can seriously jeopardise business performance through alcohol and hangover-induced downturns in energy levels – not to mention other accompanying risks, such as the negative impact on customer relations and business reputations.

“Companies should be setting out to identify if alcohol misuse is a problem among their employees and, where necessary, review and revise wellbeing strategies to establish appropriate and effective support and intervention initiatives.”

In October, a recruitment company was held vicariously liable for the actions of its boss when he punched a colleague on a Christmas night out, causing him brain damage.

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