• The average employee admits they are 43% less productive while working with a hangover.
  • 1 in 5 say they are more likely to drink more while WFH than if they had to go into the office the following day.
  • Over half admit they have taken a sick day due to a hangover since the start of the pandemic.
  • More than a quarter admit they have confused a hangover with a Coronavirus symptom.
  • 65% said they would report a colleague for being consistently hungover at work.
  • Over 1 in 3 admit they have spent the day working from bed with a hangover during the pandemic.

After indulging in one too many drinks the night before, your head may be pounding. Perhaps you are experiencing waves of nausea or maybe the room is spinning on its side. It’s likely that the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and get ready for a full day working from home. With 1 in 4 (24%) Americans admitting they have been drinking more since the start of the pandemic (DrugAbuse.com), it is more than likely that some workers have had to endure a hangover while working from home (WFH). However, even though they may appear easier to handle when you have the option of working from bed, do hangover symptoms actually impede on employees’ productivity throughout the day?

WithDrawal.net, a leading provider of treatment resources for drug and alcohol addiction, conducted a survey of 3,200 employees (aged 21+) across the U.S. and found that the average Maryland employee has spent a staggering 107 hours hungover while working from home during the pandemic (compared to a national average of 112 hours; since March 1st).

Additionally, the average employee admits they are 43% less productive while working from home and hungover. With typical hangover symptoms* including weakness, fatigue, headache, light and sound sensitivity, vertigo, anxiety and increased blood pressure, it is perhaps no wonder some find it difficult to work from home after a big night in. It can be easier to go overboard with booze when you don’t have to worry about commuting home afterwards.

Broken down across the country, it seems employees in Arkansas are taking the most advantage of being able to nurse a hangover while working from home as the average employee here has spent 166 hours hungover since the start of the pandemic. Comparatively, those in Maine have spent the least (but not insignificant) number of hours hungover during the pandemic (33 hours).

View these results across the rest of the U.S.

Given that more than 1 in 3 (37%) employees say they found it easier to deal with a hangover during lockdown, it is perhaps unsurprising that nearly 1 in 5 (19%) employees say they are likely to consume more alcohol while working from home compared to if they had to go into the office the next day. Workers may find it easier to conceal a hangover from their colleagues and employers through a screen instead of face-to-face. Additionally, dealing with a hangover at home may mean having easy and unlimited access to water and snacks, as well as being able to spend the day in PJs rather than formal office attire!

Moreover, if there are no video meetings or conferencing sessions scheduled for the day, employees may take the opportunity to nurse their hangovers by working from bed instead of their usual WFH office set up. The survey found that more than 1 in 3 (34%) employees say they have spent the day working from bed during the pandemic due to a hangover.

It is no secret that having to work if you’re feeling unwell is no easy task and is sometimes impossible. Due to the economic and emotional stress of the pandemic, some may be reaching for the bottle leading to increased alcohol consumption and worse hangovers. In fact, more than half (53%) of employees admit they have taken a sick day because of a hangover since the start of the pandemic.

Coronavirus symptoms could range from a pounding headache and nausea, to dehydration and increased blood pressure** – all of which are similar in nature to those presented when experiencing a hangover. In fact, aboard a flight to Heathrow Airport in March this year, a Londoner’s hangover caused panic among passengers and flight staff after her symptoms were mistaken for Coronavirus***. It seems this is a relatively common occurrence as more than 1 in 4 (27%) employees admit they have confused a hangover with a COVID-19 symptom since the start of the pandemic.

Additionally, more than 1 in 5 (21%) admit they have used a possible coronavirus symptom as an excuse to get off work when they were actually hungover!

Lastly, because a hangover can impede on employees’ productivity, having a co-worker who is consistently hungover may have an effect on the entire work team. This may be why more than half (65%) of employees say they would report a colleague for being constantly hungover at work.

Whether it is due to more free time and less supervision, or trouble coping with diminished contact, it may be tempting to engage in behavior that wouldn’t go over well in the workplace,” said Erika Statzel, director of nursing at Greenhouse Treatment Center and spokesperson for WithDrawal.net. “But, it’s important to remember that can be a slippery slope. Very quickly, one drink can turn into many more. As the pandemic continues on into fall and winter, we’re still venturing into uncharted territory, and some employees might need ongoing support to cope. Many employee assistance programs have made significant changes to access and services to accommodate people during this time. If you’re having difficulties enduring these times, or suspect a co-worker may be struggling with an alcohol/substance use problem, take the time to understand all treatment options available to you.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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