Employers should impose a ban on alcohol consumption on their premises to stem escalating drink-related problems among UK employees, the Institute of Personnel and Development has warned.
In a recently published report, Good Practice: Drugs and Alcohol Policies, the IPD accuses some companies of encouraging drunkenness as part of their culture.
Tricia Jackson, author of the report, said working cultures which encourage lunchtime drinking, include lavish corporate entertainment, and take a light view of staff coming to work with hangovers, cost employers billions of pounds.
The report estimates that 14 million working days per year are lost because of drink-related problems, at a cost of £2bn.
`Some organisations are failing to act responsibly, especially towards people who are obliged to entertain clients as part of their job. They are basically encouraged to get drunk together,’ she said.
Jackson accused companies of naively assuming that rising level of drug and alcohol problems among the wider population did not affect their staff.
Three out of four people with alcohol-related problems are in employment and more than a quarter of full-time employees are estimated to have used illegal drugs.
The report advises organisations to put in place official drink and drugs policies, but says they should, where possible, take a sympathetic approach to staff with alcohol-related problems.
`For most people work is the most highly-structured part of daily life,’ Jackson said. `It provides a unique opportunity for support and assistance from co-workers.’
`It is more cost-effective for employers to offer support than to sustain the cost of continuing poor performance, accidents or premature retirement,’ she said.
Call 01752 202 301 for a copy of the report