Nine out of 10 people have admitted to drinking alcohol while working from home this year – a statistic that a health and safety firm has said could have concerning consequences for worker health and the quality of work produced.
Health and safety software firm Protecting’s survey of 1,300 home workers found the majority had consumed alcohol while working in 2020, with consumption ranging from “just a glass or two with lunch” to “getting through a whole bottle of wine a day”, said founder Mark Hall.
“The freedoms of working from home have allowed workers to behave in ways they wouldn’t dream of in the office,” he said. “Just because you are in your own home alcohol and substance abuse policies still apply.”
Eight in 10 (83%) said they drank while working from home at least twice per week, while 93% said they had consumed more alcohol during the pandemic than they had previously.
More than a quarter (26%) admitted their alcohol consumption increased between March and June, when pubs were closed during the first lockdown.
Hall advised organisations that felt alcohol consumption had increased among their workforce to:
- Talk to employees – regularly check in with staff and keep communication channels open
- Remind staff of the policies in place – including what their contractual terms say about alcohol consumption and clarify these if needed
- Set regular working hours – defining clear boundaries about work time and personal time
- Offer support – letting employees know support is available if they reach out, and
- Conduct substance testing – sending home-testing kits, if necessary.
Hall said: “The best approach is to talk to your employers and help them to understand why it is important to you and your business for these rules to be followed, but to also support those who may be struggling.
“We all have our guilty pleasures and vices, but this should not impact our ability to work professionally, and if you find yourself unable to cope there are plenty of resources available.”
Earlier this month, separate research from Bupa Global found 38% of UK business leaders had turned to alcohol or drugs to cope with mental ill health during the pandemic.