Alcohol and Business the Essential Mixer?

alcohol performance Oct 29, 2018

Times are changing.  Our workforce is more diverse than ever and is set to be even more so.  People are living longer and working longer.  Our new millennials and next generation workforce are looking for something very different than the traditional 9-5 old school working cultures.  They drink less and take less drugs than generations before them. 

This is a challenge for business owner’s and leaders to provide an environment that works for many different generations.

It’s a no brainer and I am sure any employer, manager or leader knows that when your employees are under the influence of anything it effects their performance.

It is estimated that 17 million working days are lost each year due to alcohol alone.

So why is it that something that causes us so many problems in our society is an acceptable part of doing business in some working environments?

Alcohol is a drug and if all drugs where re-classified today, alcohol would be a class A drug.  Up there with cocaine and heroin.  Go to any A & E on a Friday or Saturday night and a large majority of people will be under the influence of alcohol.

Estimates for the proportion of Emergency Department attendances attributable to alcohol vary, but figures of up to 40% have been reported, and it could be as much as 70% at peak times.

So why in some job roles is it still the essential mixer?

I have had many people tell me that if they don’t drink, they won’t get the promotions or seal the business deals.  Drinking with the managers after work or wine with the business meals.

I know, I know I can hear all you people out there saying just one glass; one pint at lunchtime or after work can’t hurt. And you are right to a degree. 

The thing is we are all different, not everyone can stick to one.  Alcohol is also physically and psychologically addictive, it’s all too easy to develop a bad habit with the booze when life throws a curve ball at us.

As an employer, we want to promote health. I know I do.  If your staff team are healthy and happy they perform well, if they perform well then business is good.

Is it essential? Can you do business without our social lubricant that has been part of our world for so long?

Of course, I am going to say yes.

I like alcohol, don’t get me wrong. Even though I have had long periods without, I still like the odd drink.

However I would never do business with alcohol.

I don’t think there is any argument you can present me with that will change my mind.

A colleague of mine works within politics. He is great, a brilliant speaker and a visionary.  He likes a drink, sometimes a bit too much, he knows that.  He takes breaks regularly when the habit creeps up.  3 months here and there.  He has this thing that when he is public speaking 2 glasses of wine is his optimum lubricant.  It’s not, he just thinks it is.

When people don’t drink, they are healthier and happier. This improves all areas of someone’s life and has a knock-on effect for business, work, families, communities and is cost savings for essential services as well.


Stephanie Chivers is a habit/addiction specialist.  Contact her via  for coaching and training.


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