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Top tips to help your employees stay sober

By Neena Tailor

Drinking culture in UK workplaces is prolific. Thirsty Thursday are famous with bars and pubs packed to the brim. The first punters clinking glasses and starting the celebrations of the impending end of week can normally be heard from around 4pm in the streets of Soho and most part of London. Young graduates trying to impress managers and colleagues in the workplace are channelled into taking part in evening social activities.

Go Sober for October is a UK generated alcohol awareness campaign to encourage people to take a break from drinking and raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support. It has now taken off globally and annually in the month of October as an opportunity to bring attention to the epidemic of over-drinking and addiction, giving people the chance to kick start a new habit. Just like a New Year’s resolution, it’s another opportunity to take stock of lifestyle choices.

Employers can be highly instrumentally during ‘Go Sober for October’. There are several ways in which they can do that:

  1. Reduce the drink chat: Endorsing rhetoric around socialising that is not focussed on drinking from the top down will help people more junior feel comfortable talking about their sobriety.
  2. Equip your managers with the right tools: Telling people that you’re sober can be tricky, so training managers in the art of difficult conversations is key to encouraging those with the desire to stay sober and open up about their intention.
  3. Lead by example: Making a point of not drinking, talking about sobriety in an open and honest way, and encouraging members of the management team to do the same.
  4. Find alternative social activities for your teams: Activities that still drive engagement and team-working for the individuals. Examples of such activities could include early morning wellness sessions, escape rooms, or supporting a charity.

Go Sober for October is providing workplaces the opportunity to reset the mark, take stock and evaluate their social culture. Change can happen and anything employers can do to support that, will only lead to a happy, healthier and more productive workforce.