Many of us have battled a hangover at work at one time or another.
This often has negative consequences for our performance, with the next-day effects of alcohol resulting in difficulty concentrating; reduced productivity; tired and mistakes, according to research from the Institute of Alcohol Studies.
And that’s if you even make it in after a heavy night of drinking, with some 70 million working days are lost annually due to alcohol-related sickness.
But one employer seems to offer a solution: hangover days.
Audit Labs, a Bolton-based digital marketing agency, allows staff to arrange strategic “work from home” days to fall after a boozy night out.
Ellie, 19, works as a PR manager for the company, and is a fan of the policy.
"The perk has a lot in it," she told BBC 5 Live's ‘Wake Up To Money’ podcast. "It is about honesty, it's about people being able to not lie to their managers.”
Claire Crompton, the company’s co-founder and director, said employees had been “respectful” of the policy.
"If people used it two or three times a week and missed important client meetings then we'd have to have a think. But everyone has been really respectful of it so far,” she said. "It's basically a work-from-home day, but we've sexed it up a bit to appeal to the younger generation.”
Social media reaction
So should other workplaces introduce this kind of policy?
sounds good, people should enjoy life the way they want to and not have corporate get on to them. by looking out for their employees this way is productive for both parties.— shda (@shda80315954) December 12, 2019
If you're hungover, there's a good chance you'll be more productive from your bed (if like me you work on your computer all day). 1 or 2 a year seems like a good way to solve a problem that most people can relate to, and probably makes everybody's day better.— Benjamin Peinhardt (@BenjaminPeinha1) December 12, 2019
Used to be called duvet days. It's a win win for the employers cos they're still working from home. What's wrong with flexible working?— james mcdowall (@mcdowalljames) December 12, 2019
Audit Labs’ flexible working initiative has received a mixed reaction on Twitter. While some have praised it, others are not a fan.
Some are suggesting the policy is infantilising – calling on its supporters to “grow up”.
If your too hungover to go to work next day you have an alcohol problem and no sense of responsibility.Grow up.— Luke Warmwater. (@Kosmikray) December 12, 2019
@BBCBreakfast what would happen if nurses, teachers or supermarket staff decided to have hangover days - complete chaos- millennials grow up— Andrew Berridge (@andrewbf1) December 12, 2019
How about controlling what you drink on a school night?— Paul (@paulthelec) December 12, 2019
Some are also saying it promotes irresponsible drinking, and is insensitive towards those affected towards the alcoholism.
How can this possibly be a good idea? Surely encourages irresponsible behaviour on a working night. Ridiculous idea.— Devil's Advocate (@WindsockBS) December 12, 2019
The blatant disregard in professional workplaces for those that suffer with alcoholism or those at risk, as well as those that have loved ones who are alcoholics, is mind-blowing. Then there’s the significant population of the workforce who don’t drink for religious reasons.— Stevie Buckley (@StevieBuckley) December 12, 2019
An alternative is to make them take holiday when they’re taking one. Generally it’s an appalling idea as it glorifies a social problem and alienated those that don’t drink— jegyoung80 (@jegyoung80) December 12, 2019
A leading alcohol addiction charity has also condemned the policy.
“Employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees,” Elaine Hindal, CEO of Drinkaware, told the Independent – adding that a hangover days policy promotes “risky drinking behaviours”.