What does the Sue Gray report have to do with your workplace?

May 30, 2022 | Blog, Coronavirus News

If you find yourself asking what does the Sue Gray report have to do with your workplace, the answer is, plenty.

In particular, if you have the kind of workplace where social events are relatively common, there’s a lot that you should take away from this report.

I’m talking about workplace culture and where the consumption of alcohol fits in that picture.

You may not have been holding boozy after work parties when the 2020 lockdown was in full swing. I mean, who does that?!

In her report, Sue Gray stated “the excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time”. It’s worth remembering that any venue counts as a “workplace” if a social event has been organised by work and work colleagues are present so even if your works do is off-site, it’s still the “workplace”.

This is a great opportunity to properly look at what you do and how you do it when it comes to alcohol. Step back. Think about the role alcohol plays in your business.

  • Are you offering bottles of wine/beer/other alcohol as prizes for raffles?
  • Are you given bottles of alcohol from suppliers that you then share out with your staff?
  • Are you organising beers after work on a Friday, having barbecues in the summer or Christmas parties?

To be really clear, I’m not suggesting that you should put a stop to all of that. However, I am saying that you need to be both careful and sensible about allowing alcohol and the workplace to mix, not least of all because different people will have different attitudes towards alcohol, whether for religious or other personal reasons.

Many businesses have a “zero tolerance” approach to alcohol consumption during the working day. Some of those same businesses will then have an open bar at the Christmas party. Or the Directors will buy drinks on the company credit card as well as providing wines on the table. You really need to think about what messages you’re sending out and consider whether or not it’s time to re-think your approach.

Ideally, you need to aim for workplace drinking in moderation. If you’re providing wine on the tables at a Company do, don’t pay for drinks at the bar or at least limit Company-bought drinks to one or two at most.

Remember that any culture is set from the top. That means you and your Directors and Managers are all responsible for setting the tone. Your moderation is the indicator to your staff that they too should drink in moderation. Your “flashing the cash” behind the bar tells them if it’s ok to go wild or not. You downing shots with your team tells them all they need to know.

For help with establishing or reviewing your alcohol at work policy, get in touch.


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