One in four regret drunken behaviour during festive season reveals Drinkaware

Date Published

12th April 2016




The research conducted for Drinkaware by Opinion Matters* reveals that the nation’s top five regrets from their work Christmas party were:

  • Kissing or trying to kiss a colleague (37% of those who had regrets)
  • Criticising a superior or colleague (24%)
  • Being aggressive with a colleague (17%)
  • Oversharing personal issues (15%)
  • Drinking too much and passing out from alcohol (13%)

Almost two-fifths (38%) of employees said they start their work Christmas party intending not to drink too much but care less as the night goes on with 17% being easily swayed by others. In fact, a third (32%) admitted to feeling peer pressure from colleagues to drink.

Over one in eight (13%) admitted to calling in sick the day after– with one in six (17%) men calling in sick compared to just one in ten (10%) women. Over half (57%) of those who called in sick did so because they were embarrassed by or regretted their behaviour, and over a third (36%) because they were too hungover (36%). Whilst 13% did make it in to work the next day but couldn’t manage to do any work.

For others there were more serious consequences, as roughly half (c.50%) of those who criticised a boss or superior and around two-thirds (c.62%) of those who were aggressive with a colleague received warnings** for their behaviour.

Elaine Hindal, Chief Executive of alcohol education charity Drinkaware, says:

“The festive season is a time to socialise with colleagues but as our research shows many of us may end up drinking more than we intended to, risking our health and potentially our professional reputation. The more alcohol you drink, the more vulnerable you are to risky or even dangerous situations.

“Effects from heavy drinking sessions can include: damage to your stomach lining which results in diarrhoea or sickness; feeling shaky or anxious because of alcohol’s withdrawal effect on the brain and negative effects on your mood, skin, weight and sleep. Drink to excess on a regular basis, and these short-term effects can become long-term health problems.

“If you choose to drink alcohol this festive season there are a number of things you can do to ensure it’s a Christmas to remember for the right reasons. It is advisable to stick to the lower risk guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and 2-3 units of alcohol for women (equivalent to a 175ml glass of wine). Try making every other drink a soft one and avoid drinking in rounds to help you to drink at your own pace. You can also download Drinkaware’s free mobile app for hints and tips and to help you keep track of the alcohol you’re drinking on a night out.”

Further tips for drinking less and staying safe over the festive season:

  1. Downsize your drinks - If you’re a beer drinker, make the units go further by drinking halves instead of pints. If you’re a wine drinker then opt for a smaller glass.
  2. Don’t drink on an empty stomach - A healthy meal before you go out, and snacks between drinks can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol, helping you stay in control. Fill up on a festive meal or Christmas snacks before your first drink – it slows the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream
  3. Stick together. Make sure you leave your Christmas party in pairs or as a group. Don’t leave anyone behind. It's not just the girls who need to watch out - lone men can be vulnerable too.
  4. Plan your journey while you've got a clear head. If you’re going to get a taxi, make sure you book it or take a licensed black cab, rather than taking an unlicensed taxi you see on the street.
  5. Keep warm. Alcohol makes blood flow to the blood vessels near your skin and away from the core of your body. So while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm as you might think they are. If you are trying to get home in the cold after drinking, you can lose heat very easily and quickly, putting yourself at risk.

* Opinion Matters interviewed 2,002 people in the UK aged 25-55 that currently work and have ever been to a work Christmas party.

** Of 50% of those who criticised a boss or superior roughly half (26%) were given informal warnings and half (24%) formal warnings; of 62% who were aggressive with a colleague roughly two-thirds (45%) were given informal warnings and one-third (17%) formal warnings.