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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Is it time your workplace reassessed its attitude to alcohol?

    Is it time your workplace reassessed its attitude to alcohol?

    Posted on June 28th, 2023

    Many of us have worked in environments where meeting team targets is marked with the popping of Champagne corks, where Friday after-work drinks are the norm, and where it’s not uncommon for colleagues to have a few too many at the office Christmas party. The alcohol flows freely, all in the name of ‘team bonding’. But does this exclude some people and potentially damage the health of others? Is it time your workplace reassessed its attitude to alcohol?

    Do you know the weekly recommended units?

    The recommended maximum number of alcohol units to be consumed per week is 14 units spread across 3 days or more. That equates to around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer.

    Data from a recent survey carried out by Public Health Scotland showed “Almost a quarter (24%) of adults in Scotland still drink more than the recommended low risk weekly drinking guideline”.

    Regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week puts you more at risk of mouth, throat and breast cancer, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, brain damage, and damage to the nervous system. It can also have a potentially negative impact on your mental health.

    The rise of the tee-totallers

    The number of people who choose to abstain from drinking is growing. This is particularly true amongst young adults, in fact one recent report by the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) showed one in three young adults have reduced their alcohol consumption and almost a quarter of young adults have decided to give it up completely.

    There are various possible reasons behind this change in behaviour, including the increase in awareness of health and wellbeing, the rise of wellness influencers on social media and greater availability of fitness trackers. It’s harder to hit the gym when you’re feeling hungover, hence the reason many may be prioritising their fitness plan over their Friday night at the pub plans!

    Making the workplace more inclusive

    It is important that employers take lifestyle choices such as this into consideration when planning work nights out and team bonding sessions. Have previous work events revolved a little too much around alcohol, to the exclusion of those who don’t drink?

    Alcoholism in the workplace

    Promoting alcohol consumption within a working environment can also be problematic for those who suffer from alcohol problems. Those who are alcohol dependent may not necessarily feel comfortable admitting their addiction to their employers, but it is an issue that employers should be cognisant of.

    Tell-tale signs of alcoholism to look out for in the workplace include:

    • Increased lateness
    • Increased absenteeism
    • Signs of tiredness
    • A decrease in productivity and an increase in the number of mistakes made
    • Irritability and mood swings
    • Neglecting their overall appearance or personal hygiene
    • Frequent trips to the bathroom
    • The smell of alcohol, or the smell of mints, mouthwash or fragrance used to mask the smell of alcohol

    Alcohol screening in the workplace

    Many workplaces require their staff to undergo regular alcohol screening for safety reasons. YourGP can carry out these tests at our clinic; with options ranging from instant urine and breath tests to more detailed and legally admissible laboratory tests. Our Occupational Healthcare experts can also visit your premises to carry out testing if required.

    We are also able to organise regular corporate on-site clinics at your place of work, enabling your team to speak to our medical professionals in full confidence about any alcohol-related issues or any other health problems. The beauty of this is that these appointments can all take place at a time that suits your work schedule.

    Simply call 0131 225 5656 or email and we’ll be happy to discuss this in more detail.


    I’d like to thank everyone for their friendly professional attitudes and service. It made what was an anxious time for me much easier to cope with


    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 |

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.