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Dry January – 40 Per Cent of Bosses Say Alcohol Affects Productivity

Dry January – 40 Per Cent of Bosses Say Alcohol Affects Productivity
06 January 2021

6.5 million people plan to participate in Dry January in 2021, which is up from 3.9 million people last year. 

One in five of those who drink alcohol plan to go alcohol-free for 31 days in January, with one in four looking to cut down generally in 2021.

One in three say they have drunk more in 2020 than 2019, and one in five have felt concerned about the amount they have been drinking since COVID-19 restrictions began.


Dry Jan 2021

Picture: a graphic from Dry January's campaign. It states: "Healthier insides. Fuller wallet. Deeper Sleep. Boosted Energy. Sharper Concentration. Happier Year-Round Drinking"


Alcohol and the Workplace – 167,000 Working Years Lost to Alcohol


Lost productivity due to alcohol use costs the UK economy more than £7 billion annually, and an estimated 167,000 working years are lost to alcohol every year.  

40 per cent of employers mention alcohol as a significant cause of low productivity, and between three and five per centof all work absence is caused by alcohol consumption.

25 per cent say that drugs or alcohol have affected them at work, with 23 per cent saying they had experienced decreased productivity as a result.


Construction, Mining and Hospitality Workers More Likely to Abuse Alcohol


Research shows that working in certain industries and more likely to become dependent drinkers: mining and construction, hospitality, arts and entertainment, utilities, and wholesale are the top ones. Alcohol consumption also tends to be higher among people in managerial and professional roles compared to lower-paid occupations.

There are also several other work-related risk factors that increase the likelihood of alcohol abuse:


  • Shift work
  • Poor working conditions (hazardous, hot, cramped, at height, underground)
  • Personal conflict and stress
  • Low job security or lack of control
  • Changes or upheaval at work
  • Drinking culture being seen as normal at work


Effects of alcohol 

Picture: a graphic showing some statistics on the effects of alcohol on society, for example, alcohol costs the UK economy £21 billion a year through crime, work absence and NHS costs


Drinking More Due to COVID


New research from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, suggests that more people than ever are planning a Dry January to reset their relationship with alcohol after a year when many have found themselves drinking more heavily.

Research has consistently shown that many people are drinking more heavily since the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions began earlier this year. This new research finds that close to one in three (29 per cent) people who drink alcohol say that they have drunk more in 2020 than in 2019. One in five (22 per cent) have felt concerned about the amount they have been drinking since COVID-19 restrictions began in March this year. A similar proportion have found themselves drinking earlier in the day (26 per cent), drinking more often (31 per cent), and drinking “to try and cope” (23 per cent).

People from BAME backgrounds are more likely to have been drinking more than white people, young people (18-34) more likely than older people, and those with children under 18 more likely than those with adult or no children.


“Dry January Isn’t About Stopping Drinking Forever”


Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said:

“2020 has been a year like no other. Many of us have spent the year stressed, scared and tired – it’s no wonder that many of us don’t feel much like ourselves. When things get tough, we can find ourselves slipping into drinking habits we wish we could break – but Dry January can help. It’s our chance for a reset. 31 days to try something new, and to see some amazing benefits like brighter skin, a fuller wallet, a calmer mind and a better night’s sleep.

“Dry January isn’t about stopping drinking forever, but it is about more than January. It’s about learning that you don’t need alcohol so that for the rest of the year you’ve got a real choice. It’s about making 2021 the best it can be, and we deserve that now more than ever.

“If you’re doing Dry January, please do it with support. Alcohol Change UK offers brilliant free resources to help you make the most of your 31 days dry. By downloading our app or signing up for coaching emails, you double your chance of having a totally alcohol-free month and getting the amazing, lasting benefits Dry January can bring.

Picture: a photograph of a pint of ale

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 06 January 2021


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