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Nine out of ten admit to boozing while working from home

While it’s unsurprising that many of us are consuming more alcohol since the pandemic began, a related trend is worrying bosses across the UK – workers who think it’s okay to have a tipple while on the job.

Research by health and safety software company reveals 90% of British workers admit to drinking alcohol while on the clock, raising a host of issues concerning employee health, work quality, and ethics.

“The freedoms of working from home have allowed workers to behave in ways they wouldn’t dream of in the office,” says company spokesman Mark Hall. “Just because you are in your own home, alcohol and substance abuse policies still apply.”

As lockdown has enabled a revaluation of work life balance, a whopping 58% of Brits also admit to having sex during working hours.

With a significant percentage of the workforce having been on furlough or working remotely this year, and the imposition of lockdown restrictions, the opportunity to unwind in the pub with colleagues at the end of a long week has all but disappeared.

But this doesn’t mean people have stopped drinking; in fact, quite the opposite – 26% of people in the UK said they increased their alcohol consumption between March and June when pubs were closed during the first lockdown.

Now, a phone poll of 1,300 people by reveals that nine out of ten admit to drinking while working from home this year – and 83% say they drink while working from home more than twice a week.

“It ranges from just a glass or two with lunch, to getting through a whole bottle of wine a day,” says Hall, “but the health implications are clear.”

What can employers do to stop drinking on the job? Most workplaces have a robust alcohol and substance abuse policy to keep staff in check when they are at work, but with so many people admitting to drinking while working from home, it’s clear that the rules are not being followed.

Unfortunately for employers, even if there are policies in place against alcohol use, it’s difficult to police what your staff are up to at home during work hours. Hall advises there are some steps that employers can take to reduce drinking – and other NSFW behaviour – on the job:

  • Talk to your employees – Keep communication open and regularly check in with your staff to see how they are getting on.

  • > Remind them of employment policies – Be clear to remind them about terms in their contracts about adhering to policies and follow this up with a clarification on what the policies actually mean.

  • > Set regular working hours – Be clear about what hours you expect home working to be done, so staff are able to define when they are on your time, and when they are off the clock and can have a drink.

  • > Offer support – It has been a tough year, and more vulnerable workers may be feeling the temptation to drink more than others, so be sure to let them know if they reach out that help is available.

  • > Substance testing – The more extreme option is to send your employees home testing kits and ask them to test themselves before work to make sure they are able to work.

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