CIPD report on alcohol and the workplace welcomed by Drinkaware

Drinkaware welcomes the launch of an important new report into managing drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace. The report by professional HR body, CIPD, highlights the need for employers to take a preventative approach to drug and alcohol misuse and ensure policies and training are in place for staff.

Research from the CIPD reveals that one in five (21%) employers don’t offer proactive support to workers to help prevent, and provide support, on issues of drugs and alcohol misuse.

CIPD is also releasing a practical guide for employers.

Independent alcohol charity, Drinkaware, played a key advisory role in the development of the report and the accompanying guide, sharing its extensive research into drinking behaviours.

Drinkaware Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “There is evidence to suggest many people use alcohol to cope with increased workloads, stress, anxiety and uncertainty. And our own research tells us that millions of people have been drinking more than they usually would over the past few months.

“This report from the CIPD couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. It’s more important than ever for organisations to be aware of alcohol misuse and to signpost their staff to appropriate support.

“Organisations are in a strong position to engage with their staff about alcohol awareness, and now is the time to prioritise employee health and wellbeing – whether parts of the workforce are on furlough, working from home or are adapting to changes in their normal work environments.”

Drinkaware research released this month (15 August) revealed that around two in five (38%) of people on furlough and a third (33%) of parents with at least one child under 18 are drinking more alcohol since the start of lockdown.

This is significantly higher than the national average where, overall, more than a fifth (22%) of people in the UK – around 11.7 million – are drinking more since the lockdown began. 

It also highlights that around three in ten young adults aged 18 to 34 (29%) are drinking at higher levels than when lockdown began.

Those who are drinking more are also more likely than the national average to display worrying drinking habits, such as drinking on more days than usual, having the first alcoholic drink earlier in the day and finding it difficult to stop at one drink. Those drinking more are also twice as likely than the national average to drink while working and more than twice as likely to have had hangovers while working.

Elaine Hindal added: “The CIPD’s report and accompanying guide provides a good opportunity for employers to consider alcohol misuse in their wellbeing programmes and policies, and also where alcohol features in their organisational culture.”

Drinkaware offers support to organisations through its training programme, Drinkaware at Work. The education modules are offered in-person or by e-learning and support employers to include alcohol alongside other health and wellbeing, or health and safety, programmes for employees. Drinkaware at Work is accredited by The CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Service and by the Royal Society for Public Health.

NOTE: Opinium conducted the research on behalf of Drinkaware, surveying 2,001 nationally representative UK adults aged 18 and over from the 3 to 7 July 2020. Data highlights can be found here.

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