Limits should be placed on the amount of alcohol served at work events according to the Chartered Management Institute, after it found that nearly one in three managers has witnessed ‘inappropriate behaviour or harassment’ at work parties.

Commenting on the issue of capping drinks at work events, Martin Preston, addiction specialist and Founder of Private Rehab Clinic, Delamere, says:

“Alcohol at corporate events is becoming more and more expected in a post-COVID climate, where employers want their teams – some of whom may be working remotely or in a hybrid set-up – to socialise or bond with their fellow colleagues.

“Typically, employed adults are more likely to drink frequently than those who are unemployed, and those in managerial or executive roles are more at risk of drinking to excess on a regular basis due to the nature of business events and workplace stress – which can result in problematic drinking for many.

“In theory, the premise of capping the number of drinks employees are able to consume at a work-related function seems sensible in order to reduce any alcohol-related incidents or inappropritate behaviour occuring. Some employers organising corporate social events may choose to distribute drink tickets among employees, while others may opt to serve only beer and wine, and leave any spirits off the menu.

“However, in reality, being able to police what staff members may have been drinking prior to attending an event, or monitoring what alcohol they may have bought with them, is easier said than done. Not only will the size of the event and number of guests attending determine how easy it is to oversee, drinks caps also assume that all employees and guests have a healthy relationship and attitude towards their drinking behaviour and how they control it.

“When debating whether or not to cap the number of drinks allowed at an office party, companies must take into consideration the fact that some employees may be experiencing their own personal battles with alcohol addiction. In some cases these issues can become apparent during work events that revolve around casual drinking, regardless of whether or not a ‘drinks cap’ has been put in place.

“The consequences of a work colleague suffering from an alcohol problem can include:

Frequent absenteeism and lateness
Frequent errors and poor performance at work
Reduced productivity across the business
Inappropriate behaviour that affects employee morale
Injuries and accidents
PR issues as a result of consequences or behaviour
“If you believe that a work colleague may be suffering with an alcohol problem that is impacting upon their wellbeing and work performance but they are refusing to seek treatment, by reaching out specialists and experts like our in-house team at Delamere, you can be advised on the next steps to take to help your colleague or employee.”