Is it time to scrap the office Christmas party?

Health experts have said that the office Christmas party should be scrapped in favour of no-booze leisure treats for staff.

Party poppers or party poopers?
Party poppers or party poopers?

Research carried out by charity Alcohol Focus Scotland believe staff get-togethers over the festive period can be both dangerous and embarrassing, and have had support from Alcohol Concern and British Liver Trust.

They found that as many as 200,000 people per day show up to work nursing a hangover and can take the entire morning to recover after a staff party.

Alcohol Focus Scotland also highlighted that many drivers could be dangerous to other road users during the commute to work.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of AFS, instead believes that staff members should take trips to places such as the theatre, panto or bowling alley.

She said: “The impact of alcohol in the workplace can range from sickness absence, hangovers, accidents and injuries and lost productivity.

“Many workplaces decide to do different things to the traditional Christmas night out, choosing to go bowling or to a panto or Christmas show, so drinking is not the focus.”

However, Dave Roberts, of the Alcohol Information Partnership, feels that office parties must remain.

He said: “The traditional workplace Christmas bash is often an event when one or two drinks can help lubricate the atmosphere, generate conviviality and enable the chap from accounts to chat with a colleague from the second floor.

“These parties can be great fun as long as people remember not to go too far, to respect boundaries and don’t drink and drive.

“I am not sure many employers hold a Christmas bash of any sort and expect the next day to be the most productive on record.”