How To Handle Your Employee's Hangover

Man and his headache medication

Alcohol hangover in employees is said to cause losses in businesses worldwide. Several studies show that millions of dollars are lost because of employees’ decreased productivity in the workplace when having a hangover, or due to employee absences the day after a night of heavy drinking. What’s interesting is that these studies showed that the heavy drinkers are less likely to get hangovers. It is the light to moderate drinkers who suffer from hangover after drinking more than they are used to, or more than they can handle. This is because they have less tolerance to alcohol.

If you are an employer and you want to prevent, or at most minimize unproductive hours due to employee hangover, here are some tips that may be helpful:

  1. Know how to recognize a hangover in the way your employees behave. The visible symptoms of a hangover include bloodshot eyes. Behavioral symptoms include irritability, confusion, and inability to concentrate and follow instructions. They also tend to complain of headaches, usually slouch in their seats, and are constantly touching their aching foreheads and the nape of their necks.
  2. It is also good for you as an employer to know who among your employees are light to moderate drinkers, because they are the ones who are prone to hangovers as opposed to the heavy drinkers, who are used to drinking.
  3. Have some hangover helper pills available in your office’s first aid cabinet. This can help an employee that comes to work after a night out.
  4. Do not encourage company parties during weekdays, especially during the holiday season. It is best to schedule company parties on a Friday or Saturday night so the people will have at least a day free to rest. It is also advisable to minimize alcohol consumption during company parties to avoid accidents or occurrences of harassment among employees when they start losing control of their consciousness due to excessive alcohol intake.
  5. Educate your employees about the disadvantages of excessive alcohol drinking through health seminars. The lecturer can give tips on how to get rid of hangovers to prevent short term and long term health effects. The discussion can also focus on remedies for hangover, medication for headache relief and natural treatments for nausea, dizziness and dehydration. It is important to note that the immediate effect of alcohol intake is dehydration, so water intake is advisable. Also avoid taking aspirin for headaches because it has a negative effect on the stomach. Take paracetamol instead.
  6. Encourage after office activities that do not involve alcohol, such as bowling or watching movies. This can also be considered when there are special occasions like birthdays.

Make it clear through your company’s policies that inappropriate behavior in the workplace due to a hangover will not be tolerated. Since an employee who experiences a hangover is usually irritable, he might get provoked when under pressure. It is best to remind them to take the day off and delegate their work to others, if possible. While absences may cause some losses for the company, it might be better than losing clients because of employee misbehavior.


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