7 Jun 2019

Booze impact on NZ business tallied at $1.65 billion

8:03 am on 7 June 2019

Hangovers are costing New Zealand businesses $1.65 billion a year in lost productivity.

Exhausted tired businessman working on laptop at office, massaging temporal area, holding glasses, feeling fatigue discomfort, eye strain after long wearing spectacles, eyesight problem,

Photo: 123rf

In a study published today in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, Otago University researchers surveyed 800 employees and 227 employers across a range of sectors to find out the impact drinking alcohol is having on work.

Health economist and lead author Trudy Sullivan said the harmful effects of alcohol were well-known, but the study's authors wanted to gauge the cost.

"We found it's really expensive, $1.65b which equates to about $1100 per employee per year."

She said 80 percent of that cost related to people showing up for work, rather than staying home because of their drinking.

"That means people, turning up to work impaired by alcohol, or hungover and not working to their potential," she said.

While the cost was significant at a population level, the scale of the problem was not found to be large, with 6 percent admitting to having taken days off due to alcohol, and 10 percent confessing their productivity at work had been being affected by alcohol.

The study also found young males, who have stressful jobs and drink more than the standard amount in one session, were the most likely to have their work affected by their drinking.

Ms Sullivan said better policies were needed at a workplace and societal level to address drinking culture and contributing factors like stress.