Alcohol Issues – Are You Ever Drunk on the Job?

It’s not a very good idea to work as a heart surgeon, an air traffic controller, or indeed a Formula 1® racing driver if you’re addicted to alcohol, is it? The potential consequences of being boozed up in a role like that don’t even bear thinking about. Drinking ‘on the job’ in any form of employment is unacceptable, in fact; but countless people still do it.

Every day across Britain thousands of people turn up for work drunk, or they enjoy a couple of pints or glasses of wine during their lunch break, and then spend the rest of their working shift in an intoxicated state. That is hardly fair to employers, fellow employees, or indeed, customers, is it?

The drinking doesn’t stop at clocking off time, of course. A “swift half” after work rarely ends at that. You can still be in the pub or a local wine bar at eight or nine o’clock as drinking round after round with your colleagues sees you lose complete track of time.

Why working sober is always best
Even if you drink to excessive levels regularly, and feel supremely confident of being able to work to the very best of your ability (“drunk or sober”), you are still taking a risk by having any alcohol at all in your bloodstream. Your work performance will undoubtedly be affected no matter how confident and competent you feel. And sooner or later you’ll come a cropper.

  • Alcohol’s affect on the body at work can be wide-ranging. Here are just a few potential problems:
  • Over-confidence could become an issue (resulting in hasty decisions being made, or in you taking too much on)
  • Because alcohol is a relaxant, your reactions and reflexes will be slower (not an ideal state to be in if your job involves operating machinery, e.g.)
  • Aggressive behaviour (through drinking) could lead to trouble with colleagues and management

What if your boss drinks?
Most articles and features about alcohol’s impact on work performance centre around employees: what’s acceptable and what isn’t, workers’ rights, if the sheer stress of some jobs leads staff to secretly drink at work, if alcohol testing should become the norm in British workplaces…

But what about business owners, who, technically, can’t be fired? If alcohol clouds their decision making, or fuels bullying behaviour towards staff, or results in a lost contract, then they are acting no more responsibly at work than, say, the lazy store man in the basement who regularly enjoys sneaky swigs from his wrapped leather whisky flask!

Are you in denial?
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, if you are adept at hiding your drinking, and you frequently deny or lie about the amount of alcohol you consume, then you are on a slippery slope. Denial is typical of someone whose alcohol consumption continues to rise and rise to a dangerously excessive level. This can lead to an increased risk of a wide range of serious health conditions, illnesses and diseases, and even death.

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