Having worked since the age of 16, the phrase ‘work hard play hard’ is something I’m more than familiar with. It’s a shorthand for: the more you work, the more money you have for boozing after work.
When I bagged my first office job in London at the grand old age of 22 (a whole 4 and a half years ago now) I was thrilled to have a solid salary, but more importantly, I was ecstatic at the thought of after-work drinks.
Little did I know quite how many opportunities I would be given to explore the ‘after-work’ drinks scene. Being a 22-year-old fresh into the city, still very much with a student mindset, the fact that said drinks were more often than not, free multiplied the excitement ten-fold. Although I still look back on the first two years of graduate working life with fondness, as I sit here at my desk surrounded by apples, oranges, and the newest herbal tea brands I can’t help but reflect on how times have changed – and on whether my new relationship with work and drinking is reflective of a larger trend.
When I graduated, I remember thinking 4pm Prosecco was the coolest thing on this earth. But in my most recent job hunt – the one that led me to YesMore Agency – the things that caught my eye were free gym memberships, free lunch or even free fruit!
Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy a drink, and definitely a free one, but it is no longer something I value as much in an employer. I thought this was a gift that came with age but researching for clients this year as part of YesMore Agency, it’s clear that my attitude is reflective of a wider trend.
5 IN 10 WORKERS ARE CHOOSING TO DRINK LESS ALCOHOL
According to a Total Jobs survey about mindful work-drinks this is not just a trend for the young and youthful millennials like myself but in fact ‘mindful’ drinking is a trend that is growing across all generations, although led by younger people.
The main reasons for this shift are, according to Total Jobs, weight management and overall health. On top of this other stand out reasons appear to be mental health and financial health.
SO IS IT ALL OVER FOR THE WORK CHRISTMAS PARTY?
Well, not exactly. Despite the move towards mindful drinking, what is particularly interesting is that despite wanting to drink less, workers feel that “drinking with colleagues is 4x more likely to improve your working relationships than damage them. And 5x more likely to boost your sense of belonging than shrink it.”
So it looks like even though we are now relying on employers to help us in our healthy lifestyle, we still see alcohol as an important tool for fitting in.
Alcohol does, and will very likely continue to play a role in professional socialising – but it doesn’t have the same impact that it once did. In 2020 and beyond, workplaces should look to find activities to bring their workers together that don’t just rely on booze – creating a more inclusive environment for everyone.
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