The Effects of Alcohol on Work Performance


Alcohol and work performance do not go well together. In fact, they repel each other and should not be mixed. Drinking excessively the night before work, or during working hours is a big no-no, as the effects of alcohol on your brain could significantly affect your work performance negatively, and even hurt your career.

Yes, that glass of wine or pint of beer over lunch seems harmless enough but it could be the reason for being unproductive in the afternoon. Here are several other reasons why you should avoid alcohol when you work:

1. The risk of workplace injuries.

For people who work in industries where driving or use of machinery is involved, drinking is not only wrong and potentially illegal, but also dangerous. The risk of getting into or causing accidents is heightened, and the outcome could range from serious injuries to fatalities.

2. Absenteeism.

People sometimes over-indulge or binge at after-work events or conferences. This could lead to missing work the next day or calling in sick more often. While it’s okay to have a few drinks at such events, it is also best to drink in moderation keeping in mind the need to be sober for work the next day.

3. Under-productivity.

Alcohol has various effects on your brain, which could lead you to be unproductive at work. Lower concentration levels, lack of attentiveness, procrastination, and more frequent errors could all stem to alcohol consumption before or during work hours, leading to poor quality of work.

4. Tardiness/sleeping on the job.

The after-effects of alcohol consumption, such as lethargy, hangovers, sleepiness and headaches, can also cause under productivity at work. They can even cause you to be entirely absent from work. You might find yourself sleeping on the job or performing very poorly. Alcohol and work performance do not go hand in hand.

Your appearance also matters a lot and showing up at work drunk or hangover could make you look tardy.

5. Damaged customer relations.

The consumption of alcohol can impair judgment and makes you quite gutsy, which could lead to actions and decisions that you would not make in other circumstances. This could cause you problems with your clients, colleagues and senior management, putting you at risk of losing your job. 

What can the workplace do to manage this problem?

Organizations and companies can manage issues of alcoholism at work with awareness and support strategies, such as:

  • Establishing programs which focus on improving health.
  • Putting in place an anonymous Employee Assistance Program where employees can get support for the external issues they may face within or outside the workplace.
  • Educating employees about the dangers of working under the influence.
  • Establishing known substance abuse policies and consequences for employees who fail to observe them.

The responsibility of showing up to work sober, focused and on-time solely lies with the employee. It is an employee’s duty to steer clear of all alcohol and any other intoxicating substances during work hours and right before work. The effects of alcohol on your performance at work could cost your job and reputation.

The message is simple – alcohol and excellence at work do not mix.

Mayfair cares and would like your opinion.