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Alcoholism & Addiction

Report Suggests Employers Intervene in After Work Drinking Habits

At one time, after work drinks were considered an important part of networking. For some, however, this activity leads to problem drinking. As a result, a new Australian government report has recommended that employers conduct workplace interventions to address employees’ problems with alcohol.

MSN News recently reported that the estimated bill for lost productivity for Australian companies through hangovers and absences, staff turnover and early retirement was $5.6 billion a year. To combat this high expense, employers can try and deal with alcohol issues on work time.

The government report suggested that the potential of the workplace as a setting in which to address risky drinking patterns has been largely ignored in Australia. It is suggested that teetotalers could be pressured by their peers to drink when engaging in the after work culture.

“Workers may be pressured to join co-workers in regular ‘end of the working day’ drinking rituals,” the report said. “In some work settings, workers who do not normally drink in their own leisure time may find it expected of them by their colleagues or workplace.”

According to Stephen Overell, spokesman for the Work Foundation in the UK, many workers engage in social drinking after work, believing it will help them to get ahead. For many employees, they feel the pub is the place to market themselves and those who are shy or do not join in, feel they are at a disadvantage.

The government report also found that 96 percent of respondents drank at risky levels at least once a week; one in six workers reported physical abuse at work by a colleague who was under the influence; and one in seven reported verbal abuse. The negative effects of after work drinking negate any perceived benefits, putting increased pressure on employers to address the issue.

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