How Drinking Alcohol Can Affect Your Career

Alcohol and the workplace have always been an interesting combination. Back in the 1980s and prior, a lunchtime pint was the done thing, whereas today that’s much rarer alongside the typical post-work Friday drinks,

However, that doesn’t mean alcohol isn’t affecting you in the workplace. Particularly if you are a heavier drinker outside of the 9-5.

With the pandemic locking people down and seeing millions have to work from home, which has continued into the slightly more normal life we lead today, there was a fear that drinking on the job was coming back.

That is in part backed up by the stats that show a huge rise in people drinking in the UK, during the pandemic. But how does alcohol affect your work? And indeed does it at all?

Of course alcohol consumption will affect your career

In short, yes, of course alcohol consumption in excess is going to impact your working life. While there’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine over dinner or a quick pint following a stressful day at the office, larger scale consumption is going to be problematic both at home and at work.

Among the most common things you’ll see when it comes to alcohol affecting your work are:

Health & Safety Issues

Firstly, if you have a job that is within the trades or involves a large amount of manual labour, then there are some significant health and safety risks involved. Because alcohol reduces reaction time, speed and concentration, you’re much more likely to cause an accident that could even be life-threatening, if you’re at work with alcohol still in your system. Especially if dealing with heavy machinery.

Poor Decision Making

Nobody wants to work with a killer hangover, and even just feeling a little groggy the next day at work can lead to clouded judgement and poor decision making.

That will ultimately have a knock on effect far beyond that day, particularly if you’re making decisions that will influence things like strategy moving forward. It’s not a good place to be and will leave you regretting those decisions in the long run.

Lower Quality of Work

Production levels will be down should the body be under the influence of alcohol at work, and while you’ll get less done you’ll also end up with a lower quality of work too.

The brain won’t be functioning at its optimum level and that’s only going to have a negative impact on the work you are doing.

Strain Office Relationships

People’s moods change dramatically while both immediately under the influence of alcohol and the morning after as the hangover begins to kick in. That hugely alters your communication skills and will ultimately put strain on fellow colleagues who aren’t under the influence of alcohol and are simply looking to get things done.


Many of us will be aware of the difficulties of getting up in the morning following a night of drinking alcohol. It’s not the easiest thing in the world and when you’ve got the thought of a full day in the office, it can prove even harder.

While if it happens once your boss may turn the other cheek, regularly turning up late, calling in sick or having a poor attitude when it comes to work will likely see disciplinary action. That can put strain on relationships and ultimately lead to your position being untenable.

Getting Help

Feeling this can be exhausting both for yourself and the people you work with, and should any of the above be affecting your life, it may be time to get help.

Alcohol addiction can be hugely detrimental not just to your health and family life, but also your career and the likes of rehab or alcohol detoxing could be the first step to getting your working life back on track.

There are plenty of charities and clinics out there, operating both nationally and locally, so if alcohol is having an impact on your working life, then it may be time to start considering help.

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