You're here: Home / Alcohol knowledge centre / Alcohol in the workplace

Alcohol in the workplace

Official statistics show that employed people are more likely to drink to excess than unemployed people, that the proportion of young workers drinking excessively is highest in manual jobs such as in construction and manufacturing, as well as in professional and financial services (where about a third of staff admit heavy drinking).[1]

The effects of alcohol misuse in the workplace invariably have harmful implications on the health and social behaviour of employees and employers in the workplace; an Impact Assessment paper on minimum pricing calculated lost productivity due to alcohol in the UK at about £7.3bn per year (at 2009-10 prices).[2]

However, despite the noted high costs of alcohol-related harms to businesses, some employers continue to foster cultures of drinking at several stages of working life among staff, from first initiation with colleagues and as a motivation for socialising through to rewarding individual or group achievements. Employers have a duty of care to promote health and wellbeing among their staff when it is in fact as commonplace for workers to adopt alcohol as a coping mechanism for managing the pressures of modern life.

This factsheet addresses these concerns and their causes, examines the underlying risk factors, and looks at solutions for dealing with the issue of problem drinking at work.

Click on links opposite to view each section of the factsheet online, or click on the image below to download the entire factsheet as a PDF (updated November 2017):


[1] Croner-I (October 2016) ‘Britain’s binge drinking culture at work’


[2] Woodhouse, John (April 2017), 'Alcohol: Minimum pricing', House of Commons Library, p. 7, from Home Office (November 2012), 'Impact Assessment on a minimum unit price for alcohol', p. 5