Why Dry January should be on your 2022 workplace wellbeing agenda

Alcohol is a part of many of our lives. Whether that’s a celebratory toast, a night cap to wind down after a busy day or a few sociable after work bevs, it’s something that's encouraged on many occasions. What we want to know is, are employers aware of the impact that alcohol can have on their people?

Back in 2015, research revealed that 167,000 years of working life were lost as a result of over-drinking along with an estimated annual cost of around £7 billion to the economy. Fast forward to today and we expect those figures to be even higher thanks to the pandemic.

With the intense feelings of stress, uncertainty, loneliness, job loss and grief over the last couple of years, the UK's alcohol consumption has peaked above-average. Many are turning to the drink to mask their feelings and emotions when the reality is, it can do more harm than good to their mental and physical health.

The good news for employers is that you can help to make a positive change, and there’s no better time to get started than the renowned Dry January…

The benefits of banishing the booze

The UK’s one month, alcohol-free challenge is a fantastic initiative to promote to your people and give them a glimpse of the many benefits that a life with no or less booze can have both personally and professionally.

Wondering what those benefits are? For starters, research shows that there’s huge improvements on health. Over 65% of previous Dry January participants noticed better health in general - we’re talking lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, weight loss and more.

As for the mental and emotional wellbeing benefits, 70% of participants reveal that they have experienced better sleep - a must for employees to recharge both their bodies and brain power overnight. Speaking of brain power, refraining from alcohol has also been found to aid in the development of new brain cells!

As you’d expect, more sleep = more energy. 66% of people say that they noticed an increase in their energy levels as a result of the challenge, which in turn is likely to have a positive effect on their motivation and productivity levels in the workplace.

Last but not least, from reducing alcohol intake people have witnessed a noticeable improvement in their mood. (Don't forget, it is a Central Nervous System Depressant after all...)

Supporting your staff to stay sober

It’s not all down to the amount of alcohol that your employees consume, it's your workplace policies, attitudes and training opportunities that can make the biggest difference both during Dry January and beyond.

By offering the likes of alcohol awareness training at work, employers can prevent their people from falling into problematic consumption in the first place. Such training can equip staff at all levels including employers, managers and employees with the know-how on recognising the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, along with a deeper understanding on the effect it can have on physical and mental health.

At the end of the day, employers have a legal responsibility to look after their staff’s wellbeing, health and safety. From having an understanding of alcohol misuse and its impact business leaders can better manage any risk in the workplace and develop an effective policy that supports the organisation as a whole.

Are you providing the right wellbeing resources and support for your employees? We’re here to help you create a winning workplace wellbeing strategy in 2022 that’s completely tailored to your people, let’s talk?