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How you work and lead

A workplace's alcohol culture is largely driven by how acceptable it is to drink alcohol - especially large amounts.  

How you work and lead (your organisational policies and practices) is the area where businesses can have the most impact in helping reduce harmful drinking. 

Here are some actions you can take to help reduce harmful drinking among your people.  

  • Develop a policy around alcohol in the workplace. See our advice for creating an effective policy, including considering making your workplace alcohol free.
  • Provide clear guidance on when it is and isn’t appropriate to drink alcohol in relation to work.
  • Make sure that if alcohol is provided at work functions, it’s supplied in a way that complies with your policy. Find out more about how to promote and communicate about alcohol effectively in the workplace.
  • Ensure details about your alcohol programme are included in your induction processes.
  • Management must lead by example and be responsible drinkers.
  • Promote alcohol-free events and activities.
  • Take host responsibility seriously. Provide low and non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food at work functions, as well as safe ways for employees to get home. See Serving Alcohol SAFELY at Workplace Events for ideas.
  • Provide host responsibility training.
  • Provide training for managers, supervisors and other key staff to help them identify and manage individuals that might be at risk of alcohol-related harm.
  • Promote and celebrate nominated sober drivers for work functions.
  • Review employment practices and working conditions that might impact on employee stress (eg, working hours, flexible working conditions, job design, workload, resources).
  • Ensure alcohol is not used as prizes or gifts. Swap for gifts that promote wellbeing and health, such as vouchers for activities, sports equipment or family outings.
  • Change the workplace culture around drinking so drinking isn't expected or encouraged in the work environment.
  • Stop offering alcohol at work gatherings, or offer only small amounts.
  • Turn Friday drinks into Friday nibbles – and make them healthy nibbles.
  • Have work social functions at times when alcohol isn’t expected, such as breakfast, morning tea or lunch.
  • Hold work functions around activities that don’t include drinking, such as movie nights, family days or sports.
  • Offer opportunities and support for staff who wish to confidentially discuss concerns relating to alcohol with their manager.
  • Make it easy for staff to access alcohol counselling.
  • Allow them time off work or flexible working hours so they can go, or invite counsellors on site.
  • Address workplace factors that may influence staff drinking, such as workplace stress or bullying.
  • Consider using support services, such as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or an addiction service to help employees with alcohol issues.
  • Find out more about publicly-funded addiction treatment and advice services and information on helping people who might be at risk of alcohol-related harm.  

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