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Dry January in the workplace… It’s not too late to start!

Dry January In The Workplace… It’s Not Too Late To Start!

Have you started Dry January yet?

We all know the beginning of the new year is the perfect time to start afresh with a healthier lifestyle and approach to the upcoming months. After the mass indulging of the Christmas season and the cringing flashbacks from NYE, most people think it’s a good idea to abstain when it comes to alcohol for a while!

That’s why Dry January is such a popular motive once the New Year fireworks have faded away and that dreaded ‘Hangxiety’ is creeping up on you. However, there’s no need for guilt if you are already a few days into January – those Christmas and New Year’s leftovers shouldn’t be going to waste!

We’ve dived into how Dry January can be moulded to work for specific needs, offering tips for employers to help staff and some employee benefits that can be introduced into the workplace to maintain healthy living.

Get in touch with our award-winning brokers for FREE one-to-one advice on setting up the perfect employee benefits and insurance policies to help your staff this year. Call on 01272 222805 or click on the bottom right chat box.

What is Dry January?

Dry January means drinking no alcohol at all during the month of January. You can do this on your own, with family and friends or as part of a group (perhaps colleagues from work), or even to raise money for charity.

If you decide to stop drinking for a month, you could also try bringing in a few more resolutions such as taking up a hobby, a class, or getting fitter to distract yourself from the usual cheeky pint on a Friday.

According to drinks industry research, us Brits consume some 6 billion units of alcohol during the Christmas period. When you consider that the majority of us (71%) actually like a drink or two, you can imagine the impact on personal health and wellbeing to the whole nation over this celebratory period!

This has been exacerbated over the last few years with the impacts of the pandemic causing a rise in potentially hazardous levels of drinking.

What are the health benefits of Dry Jan?

It’s common knowledge that drinking excessively is ultimately bad for you, but to get things started for Dry January, we’ve gone into a bit more detail on how drinking less impacts your health in the best way.

1. It gives your liver a rest:

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, involved in getting rid of waste and several other vital processes. Too much alcohol over a sustained period leads to liver damage and even cirrhosis which is life-threatening.

2. It reduces blood pressure:

Drinking too much raises your blood pressure leading to a higher risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Just a few weeks off drinking alcohol has been shown to return blood pressure levels to normal. Taking a break also improves your hydration levels dramatically, allowing room for more energy, appetite, and a general glow of good health!

3. It improves sleep:

If you think a nip or two of scotch before you go to bed is good for sleep, you’d be wrong. Drink will help you drop off quicker, but ultimately disrupts your slumber, so you spend less time in deep sleep where your body starts to repair itself.

4. It aids weight loss:

You’ll also likely to find that you lose weight if you go the whole month. Alcohol makes us hungrier and we often find ourselves in a takeaway in the early hours of the morning…and then stopping at the all-night garage on the way home for snacks as well. If you only drink 6 normal glasses of wine a week, you’re cutting out nearly 4,000 calories during the month.

5. It’s good for your skin:

Drink leaches water from your body and leaves you dehydrated. A couple of days off drink and your hydration levels improve dramatically (along with your skin). That means you have more energy and appetite and feel generally healthier.

How can the workplace benefit?

It goes without saying that a business can also benefit from the healthier habits adopted during Dry January. Here are just a few of the positive impacts:

  • Employees have more energy leading to boosted productivity and performance levels
  • A reduction in absenteeism – alcohol is estimated to cost businesses around £7.3 billion each year
  • Increases the chances to create social ties between employees that aren’t solely based on drinking, boosting your workplace community
  • Helps non-drinkers to feel more part of the social dynamic
  • Can inspire longer-term healthier attitudes to drinking

Taking part in Dry January is a personal choice – but workplaces can help support it, as we explain later in this article.

How employee benefits can help during Dry January

Drink can be a big problem in many high-pressure industries, and this might just be the right time to put in place strategies for helping your employees live healthier lives and build better relationships with alcohol.

Employee Assistance Programmes included with Group Life Insurance, Group Income Protection, Group Critical and Group Private Medical often come with online health portals which provide access to support on how to cut back on alcohol intake.

Also included are free 24/7 counselling and information lines if staff are looking for support and assistance on cutting back on their alcohol intake.

An EAP can be a great place for managers, executives or HR to start when seeking advice on several employee related concerns which are often overlooked or forgotten when needed the most.

Read more: 23+ workplace perks and how they can help your employees!

How businesses can support Dry January

Businesses can make extra small changes to support staff members during Dry January, as well as boosting their wellbeing all year round.

Here’s what they can do:

  • Appoint a Dry January Champion to help those taking part maintain their momentum and implement some of the other ideas in this list
  • Organise more dry social events e.g., morning coffee catch-ups, going for walks, less pub visits, or try pub visits but with a no-alcohol rule (after all, we don’t want to strip pubs of their business!)
  • Set up a healthy competition between staff with prizes for Dry Jan – also keep options and support for those employees who need different motivations to help through the month (not everyone thrives on competition!)
  • Regular 1-2-1 sessions outside of the office space enabling open communication if staff need to discuss any struggles
  • Switch up the Friday afternoon drinks offerings e.g., alcohol-free beers/wines, mocktails, juice, wider array of teas/coffees
  • Sign up for free online resources, such as those offered by Alcohol Change UK

Another alternative if Dry January appears too big a challenge is a not so strict Damp January! This focuses on switching up our approaches to alcohol – don’t have that “getting ready to go out” drink, and don’t get “just one more” after already being at the pub. Try to meet up with friends to do alcohol-free activities, and set strict limits if you are going to be having a drink.

Need that extra bit of help this month?

This time of year is often difficult for many, so getting a bit of extra help when setting up employee benefits can make all the difference. That’s where a benefits broker like Hooray are here to help!

We offer FREE advice to start-ups and SMEs who are looking to launch or review an employee benefits scheme. You can simply give us a call and fire every question you ever wanted to ask in our direction. We’ll answer honestly and in simple language.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 01273 222805 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.

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