Over 520,000 people in the United Kingdom arrive at work with a hangover each day, according to a study carried out by Drinkaware, a UK charity claiming to provide consumers with information to make informed decisions about the effects of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles.

The study, released today, shows that the average Brit goes to work suffering the after effects of excessive alcohol three times monthly. Of those who admit to being hung over, 17% confess to struggling to keep on top of their workload and to making mistakes. 7% of people with a hangover say they had to leave work early because they did not feel well enough to carry on.

With the World Cup football (soccer) tournament starting next month, Drinkaware believes these figures will spike in June and July, having a direct impact on productivity throughout the country.

The study, involving over 1000 adults, also revealed contradictory perceptions of drinking, with 60% of respondents admitting they've joked about having a hangover with their colleague or boss, despite 89% believing that having a hangover at work is unacceptable.

To help employers during the coming World Cup, Drinkaware has teamed up with healthcare provider BUPA to offer advice on how to manage alcohol in the workplace.

Chris Sorek, CEO of Drinkaware, said:

"Having a hangover at work doesn't just affect the person who has drunk to excess. With hundreds of thousands of people going to work every day after a heavy night, it impacts work productivity and even results in employees going home sick. "An international sporting event like the World Cup will inevitably capture the attention of the nation and is a great time for people to come together, but hangovers at work are likely to increase. That's why we have teamed up with Bupa to provide employers with handy tips on staff drinking and hangovers at work, to make the event a better experience for everyone.

Drinkaware and BUPA advise employers to:
  • Set out a clear alcohol policy to ensure all employees know what is acceptable. Our research revealed that 40% of adults in Great Britain don't know if there is a formal procedure in their organisation to deal with colleagues regularly turning up to work with a hangover.
  • Be aware that while many people may joke about having a hangover at work, intoxicated or hungover employees can be disruptive and unproductive, cause accidents and upset other members of staff.
  • Question someone who is apparently intoxicated. Employers have a duty of care to their employees and can ask the person to go home. However, any incident should be investigated thoroughly in case there are underlying reasons for the behaviour.
Dr Katrina Herren, Medical Director, BUPA Health and Wellbeing explained:

As an employer, it is important not to ignore the effects of alcohol on employees or the adverse effects it can have on the workplace environment. Employees should also be aware that if someone is regularly coming into work with a hangover this could be a sign of wider alcohol or mental health problems.

For more tips and information about alcohol in the workplace visit www.drinkaware.co.uk.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist