Alcohol in the workplace: Exploratory research
Summary of findings
There is an overall perception that alcohol in the workplace is not a problem. This was reflected in the face to face interviews, with many organisations not have a screening procedure in place, and in some cases not have a policy.
This complacency could be due to the lack of alcohol related incidents; just 18% of organisations had experienced an incident in the past 12 months. Absenteeism was the most recognised consequence of alcohol.
When dealing with absenteeism, more or less all organisations recorded this in some way, and carried out back to work interviews. However, employees were unable to record an absence as alcohol related unless the employee stated that this was the case, although suspicions were noted in some cases.
Over half of organisations had an alcohol policy and, or these, 76% described the policy as ‘zero tolerance’. Employees were rarely forced to read the policy.
National campaigns, such as ‘know your limits’ were widely recognised. Just 12% of the organisations questioned had ever run an internal campaign.
Most organisations would welcome some form of help from the NHS to launch or support internal campaigns.
Just under 32% of those surveyed were aware of screenings and interventions related to alcohol in the work place. Just over a quarter of respondents were aware of an occupational health model in place within their organisation.
To identify the level of need and support required by local business to address alcohol misuse in the work place. (This was cited as ‘one of the aims’ of the research. However, no others were specified.)
It is estimated that up to 17 million working days are lost through alcohol-related absence resulting in a significant loss if productivity and profitability.
The national alcohol harm reduction strategy for England calls for action for better education and communication through the provision of support and advice to employers. The NHS are working with businesses to reduce the consumption of alcohol during work time.
NHS Hull, having recognised alcohol in the workplace as a problem, has decided to commission a range of supports/interventions to support local business in Hull, and is currently reviewing its strategy and services for alcohol in the workplace. To assist it in this process, one of the aims of the commissioned research was to identify the level of need and support required by local business to address alcohol misuse in the work place.
Research to identify the level of need and support required by local business (in Hull) to address alcohol misuse in the work place.
- 256 telephone surveys carried out across organisations of differing sizes in Hull. Topics included:
- Business and alcohol
- The organisation
- Campaigns and awareness
- Identification and brief advice
- Occupational health provision
- What help/support is needed
- Face to face interviews with the relevant person from a selection of organisations. X12 interviews in all. Each was asked if they could provide a copy of the organisations alcohol policy.
Data collection methodology
x256 telephone surveys
x12 face to face interviews