To provide employees with the facts about alcohol and its impact on health and wellbeing, so they can make informed decisions about their drinking.
Alcohol’s impact on the workplace can be significant but not always acknowledged such as greater absenteeism, lower productivity and unsafe working conditions. In 2013, in Ireland, the estimated cost of alcohol-related absenteeism was €41 million. 16% of companies reported alcohol and alcohol-related illnesses as a cause of short-term employee absences and an estimated 5,315 people lost their job as a result of alcohol use.
Therefore, the growing trend in workplace wellness is a welcome one. Employers are realising that there are business benefits in terms of recruitment and retention, and employees appreciate their wellness being considered. Indeed, the workplace has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as playing an important role in promoting health. Businesses that protect workers’ health are among the most successful over time. Helping employees to make better, more informed choices about their drinking benefits everyone in the long-term. Examples of possible benefit include:
- Healthier employees
- More engaged workforce
- Reduced incidence of accidents/injury
- Increased productivity
- Reduced absenteeism
- Positive wider social benefits
Workplace wellness programmes typically involve elements focusing on mental health, physical wellness, good nutrition and sleep. Alcohol misuse has wide-ranging impacts on each of these areas but is often not a featured component of employee wellness programmes or initiatives. Drinkaware’s workplace wellness options include:
- Workshops: Interactive one-hour session featuring the key facts about alcohol and resources.
- A staffed information stand: with information and resources.
- Intranet content: Engaging seasonal content to help promote alcohol awareness throughout the year.
- Health promotion resources and more. Resources provide evidence-based information about alcohol, tools to make it easier to understand drinking habits and tips to make small, positive changes to drink in a less harmful way.
Since every business is different, The Drinkaware.ie Workplace Wellness Manager discusses the employers’ needs and works with them to create the right programme for the organisation. Employers can choose from different options to create the package that suits their employees.
In addition to reaching out to employers, Drinkaware.ie also raises awareness in the programme by taking part in events.
- In April 2019, on National Workplace Wellbeing Day, Drinkaware.ie made the case for including alcohol awareness as part of employee health and wellbeing initiatives, and Drinkaware’s range of options to support this including workshops, manned information stands and evidence-based health promotion resources.
- In June 2019, the Drinkaware team hosted an information stand at the KeepWell Summit in Croke Park to share details of the Workplace Wellness Programme and talk to attendees about the role alcohol awareness has in wider health and wellbeing events.
In 2019, 63 Workplace Wellness events were facilitated, 33 employee workshops were delivered and 2,615 employees were reached nationwide.