Supporting your colleagues

Date Published

5th November 2021




With hospitality gearing up for the traditionally busiest time of the year, Drinkaware is stressing how important it is for staff to be aware of the pressures that colleagues are under and be mindful of how to look after each other.

As part of that duty of care, Adam Jones, Drinkaware’s business development and partnerships director, offers some practical advice on spotting whether drinking may be getting out of control for someone you know.

Over the last couple of years, we have all become more acutely aware of those around us and the community that we live and work in. As people dealt with the pandemic in their own ways we were urged to #bekind and help each other as much as possible. For hospitality, the positive team spirit and mutual support that is so prevalent was tested as colleagues were distanced from each other during a series of closures and restrictions. And now the sector faces other challenges – staff shortages, supply chain disruptions, and customers with different levels of anxiety and behaviours towards employees.

In the Drinkaware Monitor 2021[1] people reported that the pandemic, and particularly times of increased restrictions/lockdowns, caused periods of high stress, anxiety, isolation, and boredom, and that some turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Additionally, 12% of those who were made redundant (or were in the process of being made redundant) during the pandemic said they drank to forget about problems compared . With pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels closed for long periods many staff would have fallen into the redundancy bracket if they were not able to be furloughed so may have been at higher risk of turning to alcohol to help them cope.

If someone you care about is drinking too much, whether it is out of habit, anxiety or adjusting to new working patterns, you may be well placed to recognise changes in their behaviour and help. The more we drink, the greater our tolerance for alcohol can become and this for some could lead to dependence over time, so it is important to recognise potential warning signs and seek support sooner rather than later.

Signs that you should look out for include:

  • Seeming tired, unwell or irritable
  • Feeling anxious or depressed, or talking about having trouble sleeping
  • Seeming secretive or dishonest about how much alcohol they’re drinking
  • Being unable to say no to alcohol or stop at one or two drinks
  • Appearing drunk more often, or needing to drink more in order to get the same effect
  • A lack of interest in regular activities, instead favouring occasions to drink

With the festive season approaching and everyone under pressure to deliver high levels of customer service, look out for each other and if you spot any of the signs and think that one of your colleagues or someone you care about is drinking too much, remember that help is available.