Half of workers suspect their colleague is hungover new data from Drinkaware reveals

Date Published

9th December 2021




Half (47%) of employees have suspected a colleague was hungover in the past 12 months* according to research from alcohol education charity Drinkaware.

And worryingly almost one-fifth (18%) have worked with someone they thought was under the influence of alcohol.

This compares to a third (31%) of people who drink admitting to having worked with a hangover, suggesting that employees might be quicker to judge a colleague than themselves.

The study of 3,021 UK working adults was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Drinkaware to understand more about how drinking habits can impact the workplace.

With Christmas fast approaching and people socialising more or being tempted to have a few extra drinks at home, they may be drinking more than usual and paying the price the next day.

Before the pandemic** almost two thirds (61%) of UK drinkers said that during the festive season they over-indulged with alcohol more than usual and one in five (18%) said they typically suffered more hangovers.

Annabelle Bonus, Drinkaware’s director for evidence and impact, said: “This is our second Christmas in the pandemic and there’s still a lot of uncertainty so it’s understandable people may be drinking more for a whole host of reasons.

“But regularly drinking above the UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of 14 units a week can increase your risk of a range of health conditions as well as make you suffer the following day. Keeping an eye on how much you’re drinking will help you enjoy everything December has to offer without adding additional anxiety to an already potentially stressful time.”

Follow Drinkaware’s six tips to stay on track this festive season:

  • Take the time to talk
    Telling your friends and family about your plans can help them understand why you’ll be drinking less this Christmas. Getting their support can also help you stick to your goals. Sometimes friends and family might not be as supportive as you’d like, and they may not even know they are doing it. If this happens remind yourself of your ‘why’ and that you alone are in control of your decisions. You can do it!
  • Don’t be daunted
    Keeping track of your drinking is a marathon, not a sprint, so take it day by day. Focusing on one day at a time will help the journey feel more manageable especially over the festive season. If you slip up and overdo it you might feel that you’ve blown it completely. But this is ‘all or nothing’ thinking. You may have overindulged on one day, but can you recommit to your goal right now for the next?
  • Make some swaps
    Switch to on-trend smaller glasses. Did you know a large (250ml) wine measure is third of a bottle of wine? Or make yourself and others a festive mocktail, these drinks could be a fun alternative to your usual alcoholic choice.
  • Drink Free Days
    Having at least three drink-free days every week gives your body a break from alcohol and helps you stick to the low-risk guidelines (14 units a week), which keeps your health risks low. Taking some drink free days will make your mornings fresher, setting you up for a day of festivities, and help you get some well-deserved rest at night.
  • Have a plan for if you’re heading out
    If you decide to drink alcohol and don't want to drink too much, pace yourself by having a soft drink or two after every alcoholic drink. Try to eat before you go out or during the night.  Avoid rounds! Not only might you end up drinking more than you would have if you were buying your own drinks, you'll spend more too. Travel home with people you trust, whether that’s in a licensed taxi, on public transport or with a designated driver who didn’t drink alcohol.
  • Have a sober season
    If you’re in the early stages of cutting out drinking completely this Christmas, plan for situations where you may be tempted to drink. If you tend to drink when eating out or at a party, take along your favourite alcohol-free alternative or look at the menu in advance to make sure the venue has options. There is nothing wrong with going out with friends or family and giving alcohol a miss. Stick to soft drinks and you'll stay on top of all the conversations as well as save money.

The risk of developing a range of health problems increases the more units you drink on a regular basis. Drinking less will not only help improve your overall physical and mental health, it will also lower your risk of serious diseases such as seven types of cancer, heart disease, liver disease and stroke.

Although Christmas only happens once a year the health impact of drinking too much can really add up over time, especially if you make it a habit. Which is why Drinkaware recommends that you keep an eye on how much you’re drinking and stay within the UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines of not exceeding 14 units of alcohol per week and spreading these over three or more days.

For more information please visit www.drinkaware.co.uk  and download the Drinkaware App to help you keep track of your drinks.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 3,021 employees. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 27th October 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in employment (aged 18+).

**By the 'festive period', we mean the dates between 1st of December and 1st of January (i.e. New Year's Day). All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,402 adults of which 2,093 drink alcohol. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th - 30th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).