New research has revealed that as many as 89,000 people may be turning up to work hungover or under the influence of alcohol every day, costing the economy up to £1.4 billion a year. The survey of 3,400 workers for a report by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), found 42% of workers had ever been to work hungover or intoxicated, and 9% had done so in the past six months. The research also found that working hungover or intoxicated was most common in the hospitality and leisure, retail and construction sectors.
Higher earners were more likely to have gone to work hungover or under the influence; 29% of people earning under £10,000 a year had ever done so, compared to 55% of people earning over £60,000. Respondents to the survey also reported being affected by others’ drinking at work: 36% suspected that one or more of their colleagues had been hungover or intoxicated in the last six months, reporting reduced productivity, greater stress and a negative effect on team morale.
On average, respondents believed themselves to be 39% less effective when they were drunk or hungover. Based on average labour costs, and how frequently people are impaired at work, this implies a cost to the UK economy of between £1.2 billion and £1.4 billion a year.
Suzannah Robin, an alcohol and drug safety expert at Alcodigital, said: “The findings from this study are not surprising. Over the last 15 years AlcoDigital have worked with many companies assisting them in managing the impact of alcohol in the workplace, helping them develop drug and alcohol policies to deal with the loss of productivity and safety issues arising from excessive alcohol consumption.”