With many of us still working from home, our everyday habits have drastically changed in order to accommodate our new daily routines. For some, this may mean waking up a few minutes later or perhaps juggling work and homeschooling the children, but others are using this newfound freedom as a reason to have an alcoholic drink during their workday.

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. With 1 in 5 Australian employees admitting they are more likely to drink alcohol during working hours while at home, HR professionals must find a way to get ahead of this issue before it becomes problematic.

How alcohol affects your health

The risk of accidental death or injury is increased when people drink harmful quantities of alcohol or ‘binge drink'. This is because when people drink at these levels they are more likely to take risks and put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Heavy consumption of alcohol over a long period of time can cause damage to many parts of the body. Impairment of brain and liver functions can be permanent. Emotional difficulties, such as depression and relationship problems, are likely. If the person's diet is also poor, this can further affect their health.

How alcohol affects work

Drinking alcohol at harmful levels can have negative impacts on your work. These impacts may include:

  • health and safety risks due to being impaired at work
  • negative impacts on work performance and working relationships
  • increased absence and/or lateness for work.

What to do about alcohol and work

HR must reinforce education on the risks of alcohol use in the remote workplace. Here are a few actions HR can take now:

  • 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.

By establishing resources and policies to help navigate this new normal, HR professionals can be a key component in employees’ success amid the stress, uncertainty, and isolation. Taking the steps to ensure that people are well supported at work — whether that be in a high-risk environment or their own home— could make a real difference in reducing the harms from alcohol or other drugs in Australia.

Why you should give up the booze this Dry July

Dry July is here again. Every year, Dry July participants fundraise to improve the comfort and wellbeing of people affected by cancer. Aside from helping out, here are a few reasons to go dry (or reduce) and keep you motivated while you give up the booze this month:

  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Increase in wakefulness
  • Enhance work performance
  • Improve concentration
  • Lose weight
  • Decrease in cholesterol
  • Lower blood glucose
  • Decrease in liver fat

Here's to the organizers and promoters of Dry July – thank you for making a difference, from the team at Anista Employee Benefits! 🙂