Other Opinion: A pandemic problem - drinking on the job


Here’s an angle about COVID-19 that no one wants to talk about – the time employees waste recovering from hangovers while working from home.

It even has a name to it – “pandemically unproductive.”

According to a new survey from , a provider of treatment resources for drug and alcohol addiction, Minnesota employees have spent 121 hours hungover while working from home since March 1. One in four Americans admit they’ve been drinking more since the start of the pandemic. The survey was conducted with 3,200 employees (aged 21 and older) across the U.S.

Other findings:

  • The average employee admits they are 43% less productive while working with a hangover.

  • One in 5 say they are more likely to drink more while working from home than if they had to go into the office the following day.

  • Over half admit they have taken a sick day due to a hangover since the start of the pandemic.

  • More than a quarter admit they have confused a hangover with a coronavirus symptom, such as a pounding headache, nausea, dehydration and increased blood pressure.

  • A total of 65% of the respondents said they would report a colleague for being consistently hungover at work.

  • Over 1 in 3 admit they have spent the day working from bed with a hangover during the pandemic.

According to Cherry Digital, a content marketing agency that released the results of the survey: “Workers may find it easier to conceal a hangover from their colleagues and employers through a screen instead of face-to-face. Additionally, dealing with a hangover at home may mean having easy and unlimited access to water and snacks, as well as being able to spend the day in PJs rather than formal office attire.”
Although the results of the survey may cause some joking around in the workplace, the core issue – drinking while working or recovering from it – points to a serious probem.


“Whether it is due to more free time and less supervision, or trouble coping with diminished contact, it may be tempting to engage in behavior that wouldn’t go over well in the workplace,” said Erika Statzel, director of nursing at Greenhouse Treatment Center and spokesperson for . “But, it’s important to remember that it can be a slippery slope. Very quickly, one drink can turn into many more. As the pandemic continues on into fall and winter, we’re still venturing into uncharted territory, and some employees might need ongoing support to cope. Many employee assistance programs have made significant changes to access and services to accommodate people during this time. If you’re having difficulties enduring these times, or suspect a co-worker may be struggling with an alcohol/substance use problem, take the time to understand all treatment options available to you.”

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