Dive Brief:

  • On average, American workers miss two days of work per year due to being hungover, a survey of 1,000 full-time workers from Delphi Behavioral Health Group found. By industry, the sector most affected by hangovers is tech, with an average of 8 sick days used, while construction workers and legal industry workers used four, the survey found. Medical and healthcare; wholesale and retail; and government and public administration workers used only one sick day on average, according to Delphi, which estimated that hangovers cost U.S. employers more than $41 billion in sick day pay last year. 
  • More than 75% of workers admitted they’ve shown up to work with a hangover  nearly 80% of men surveyed and about 70% of women — the study revealed. By age group, millennials lead the pack at almost 77% reporting for work hungover, and workers in the legal industry were most likely to nurse hangovers at the office, Delphi said.
  • Workers come into work hungover on average six times per year, according to the survey, and spend about five hours of those days actually working. To get through the day, they pretend to work, hide out in the restrooms, take a nap or a long lunch. More than 30% said they’ve told their boss they overdid it the night before, and there were no consequences for 66%.

Dive Insight:

While the occasional overindulgence isn’t problematic, employers may rightfully be concerned with the behavior if it becomes a chronic problem and it’s worth considering if it indicates a broader issue. Almost half of employers are unsure whether their staff has a substance abuse problem, but some reports suggest employers think mental illness and substance abuse levels are reaching record highs. The trend is prompting some companies to assess if new benefits can help workers.

Many of the industries that appeared on the Delphi report, like the legal industry, are considered high stress. Mental health advocates believe stress on the job threatens work-life balance for many workers. Unrealistic expectations for productivity, efficiency and constant communication can pressure staff. Ironically, as stress levels increase, productivity can suffer and some workers may not be equipped with effective coping mechanisms. To address this problem, Macy’s, ADP and other employers recently partnered to create a guide for offering mental health benefits and reducing mental health stigma.

By Riia O’Donnell
Originally posted on hrdive.com