An article that appeared Friday on this site, from the National Safety Council, told us of a survey that presents yet another concern for the workers’ compensation industry. It indicated people who suddenly found their work based from home due to the COVID pandemic were more likely to drink on the job as a result. It found that 1 out of 3 respondents are more likely than usual to do so. The study was conducted by Alcohol.org.
A bit of warning regarding the link to Alcohol.org, should you follow it to review the study results. After a few minutes of lingering on their site, it will assume you have a drinking problem and, using geographic location services, pop up a box offering places where you can find help in your area. Just click the button that says you don’t have a problem and can quit any time you want.
And we thought the presumptions in our industry were out of control….
Anywhoo, according to the NSC:
Alcohol.org – a resource of the American Addiction Centers, a national provider of addiction treatment services – in late March conducted an online survey of 3,000 U.S. adults working from home “to find out how many are using their new office setup as an excuse to drink.”
In general, 35% of the respondents said they were more likely to consume alcohol while self-isolating, while 22% said they’ve stockpiled alcohol over other food and drink items while isolating. Beer was the beverage of choice for 38% of the respondents, followed by cocktails (26%), wine (21%) and straight spirits (15%).
While there may be concern over the 35% who said they are more likely to drink, I think the big worry are the folks stockpiling alcohol over food. That is something investigators might refer to as “a clue.”
Researching the data a bit further, it appears that here in Florida just 22% of home based workers are drinking on the job. While several states have rates of 40% or higher, the boozers in New Hampshire clocked in with a whopping 50% drinking at work. Still, they were rank amateurs when compared to Hawaii, which had the top drink from home ratio of a simultaneously impressive and depressing 67% of their workers. Aloha nui, island people.
Of course, what this really means is that the people in Florida are better liars than those in New Hampshire or Hawaii. But not as good as those in Arkansas, where only 8% of home-based workers fessed up to drinking on the job.
Naturally, there are questions surrounding this survey. What compelled them to study the topic? Were the researchers sitting around their home-based office wondering if they were the only ones getting tanked on the job? And why would people working from home suddenly drink more? Could it be because their spouses, children and everyone else in their house is suddenly working and learning from home? I don’t have children, but I’m pretty certain I would drink more if I was forced to spend all day and night with people I had molded and developed.
No one could handle that without a drink.
And something about having me home all day compelled my spouse to move happy hour up slightly; from a previous 5PM to a somewhat earlier 9AM. Perhaps there should have been a study about the drinking habits of spouses who suddenly found their mate taking over half the house with their work duties.
The survey did not tell us how to tell if our remote co-workers are drinking more. Therefore, being the ever helpful and reliable resource, this blog will provide some useful tips that you can use to identify a problem early on.
If your co-worker logs onto a Zoom call and is wearing underwear on his head, he might be drinking on the job.
If your co-worker, in the middle of a Zoom call from her home-based office, suddenly turns to raucous children in the background and yells “If I have to stop this car someone is going to get a beating!,” she might be drinking on the job.
If any co-worker refers to the call as a “Shooooooooooooooooooooooooooom call,” they might be drinking on the job.
If a co-worker turns in a report that consists of hundreds of pages of nothing but “All work and no play make’s Jack a dull boy,” well, you have a problem, but it is likely not alcohol. Call the authorities. And tell them to bring an icepick.
Of course, this presents another concern for those in the workers’ compensation industry. People working at home are still covered by workers’ comp. With less direct oversight and control alcohol related incidents could increase risk and liabilities for the insurance industry. There is unfortunately no “best method” to identify and counter this. But we do know one thing; if you suspect a problem with a co-worker, you can send them to Alcohol.org.
A pop-up box will eventually appear directing them to help. And the rest of us will be able to have a drink to celebrate our success in helping another person.