The Christmas period brings increased drinking peer pressure in the workplace.

Drinkaware found that 29 per cent of workers felt pressured to drink with their colleagues over the festive period. More than one in ten said that they avoid social occasions over Christmas time because of ‘the pressure to drink alcohol’.

The good thing is that more employers are beginning to recognise the importance of offering social activities that are not just about alcohol and drinking. If you have any concerns about this and are dreading the office Christmas party as a result, contact your HR department or line manager before to enquire about alcohol-free options. Make it clear from the outset that you are not intending to drink.

Another positive recent trend to emerge is the increased availability of alcohol-free options that are now available in most pubs and bars. Sales of non-alcoholic beer skyrocketed by 58 per cent in the UK between 2019 and 2020. It is easier than ever been to attend venues without having to worry about the choices on offer.

Some other ways to avoid and combat peer pressure in such situations include:

  • Taking your own drinks to Christmas parties. Having your own drinks on hand will help to avoid a situation where you might be pressured into selecting an alcoholic option.
  • Be a Christmas designated driver. As well as helping colleagues that are choosing to drink that night, it is a handy excuse for turning down alcohol.
  • Choose your events carefully. Just because it is the busiest time of the year does not mean that you must attend every social function that you have an invite for. Consider dropping those events where there might be a heavier expectation on you to drink, or you will be around people that could influence you negatively.
  • Suggest other ways of hanging out. Christmas is not about drinking! Suggest alternative ways of meeting up such as visiting a Christmas market, going ice skating, or doing any number of festive activities that do not involve picking up a drink.

Racoo Screening works with organisations of all sizes to help implement effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policies that comply with national and, where relevant, international regulations. We also offer a complete drug and alcohol testing service, e-learning packages, and staff training. To find out more, contact us here.