Dry January: The Benefits Of An Alcohol-Free Workplace

Dry January at Work: Relaxed office managers drinking beer in office. Cheerful young people relaxing after hard work. Relaxation concept

January is always signposted as the month to try something new, so Dry January might be a great way to improve employee mental health and wellbeing after the festive break.

According to Alcohol Change, a leading UK alcohol charity, this could result in big benefits.

What Is Dry January?

Dry January is when people go alcohol-free for the whole month. They can use Alcohol Change UK’s tools and resources.

While this is normally a personal choice that is done for charity, workplaces that support Dry January could also help improve wellbeing, productivity and more.

Is Dry January Good For You?

According to Alcohol Change UK, there any many mental and physical benefits to going sober.

The website says that 86% of people who do Dry January save money and 65% notice generally improved health. Another 70% say they sleep better when they don’t drink.

This is because not drinking can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce diabetes risk
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood

Further, alcohol is linked with over 60 health conditions, says Alcohol Change UK. This includes liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer.

The charity says that it is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health, disability for people aged 15 – 49 in the UK.

How Does Being Alcohol-Free Benefit The Workplace?

Alcohol Change UK says that there are “big benefits for all” if workplaces take part in Dry January as a collective.

It says that reduced absenteeism and lost productivity from alcohol are estimated to cost businesses £7.3 billion every year.

So cutting alcohol out could lead to more energy, improved health and ultimately better performance and productivity.

For some companies, drinking alcohol has a lot of social ties. This could mean that employees become dependent on it for social occasions.

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Dry January can show that social functions between employees do not have to be based around drinking alcohol.

Ideas For Running Dry January At Work

Here are some ideas to help employees get involved in Dry January from Alcohol Change UK:

  • Appoint a Dry January Champion to be responsible for driving the campaign on behalf of your workplace
  • Organise a dry event for your colleagues
  • Run a quiz about alcohol
  • Set up a competition between your staff members and give prizes to the employees who donate/raise the most for charity
  • Make a pledge wall—find an empty board in the staff room and make a poster, asking everyone to write their name if they are planning to take part
  • Sign up for free resources
  • Could your team try dry? Get tips for running a great workplace Dry January, free resources and a workplace pack

If someone in your workplace is dependent on alcohol, it could be dangerous if they stop drinking suddenly. It could even kill them.

According to Alcohol Change UK, the following are signs of alcohol dependency:

  • seizures (fits)
  • hand tremors (the shakes)
  • sweating
  • seeing things that are not actually real (visual hallucinations)
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)

If you have any of these symptoms, speak to a GP. You can also find out more about getting some support via Alcohol Change UK’s website. 

Did you find this article helpful? You can also read Mental health reason over a third of legal professionals want to quit, Going global with mental health first aid training and 10 reasons why employers should raise alcohol awareness.

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