Dry January is an excellent way to bring in the new year. In fact, an estimated 6.5 million make the pledge to stay off of the booze for the first 31 days of the year. It is easy to see why. Abstaining from drinking has been shown to lead to decreased blood pressure, weight loss and a massive decrease in problem drinking once Dry January is over. As people use Dry January as a way of feeling more confident about managing alcohol intake in general, this translates into lower consumption overall across the whole year. That being said, going the full 31 days is easier said than done!
There is plenty that employers can do to support their employees through Dry January, and there are plenty of benefits in doing so. Employees will have more energy and will therefore perform better. The absenteeism and lost productivity that comes with alcohol consumption will be removed, and the costs that come with it. An estimated £7.3 billion is lost every year to absenteeism, removing hangovers from the equation can definitely make a dent in this! For employees that might struggle with their relationship to alcohol, running It is also a chance to build cohesion within teams with events that are not centred on alcohol, which might result in some significant bonding. Finally, it is worth using Dry January as a charity run, using the money saved and putting it towards a worth cause.
But how to run all of this smoothly? Try appointing a member of staff to help drive the campaign and encourage everyone to take part. Make a ‘pledge wall’, an empty wall in the workplace where everyone can write down their name if they are going to take part in Dry January. Think about organising a dry event for employees, this could be a mocktail party or group quiz. Try and tap into everyone’s competitive side by setting up a staff competition and reward those employees who are able to go the full stretch, or who donate the most to charity!
Whether you decide to do Dry January in the workplace or not, what is important here is the wellbeing of your employees. Not only does mental health massively impact your employees, but it undoubtedly leads to unnecessary cost and a significant loss of productivity. That is why it is so important that your employees have compassionate, effective and responsive mental health services that they can rely on. If you have not already done so, it is up to you as an employer to take preventative and proactive action to maintain your employees’ healthy mental wellbeing. The reward for getting this right is a happier, healthier and more productive workforce, and a more successful organisation.