Staff pulling ‘sickies’ due to almighty hangovers after the Christmas party will cost the UK economy £620 million this festive season, with many planning to get more drunk than usual after a stressful year.
According to a survey of 6,000 UK workers undertaken by hotel chain Travelodge, just under two thirds of workers will be attending an average of two work events over the week ahead and just over a quarter intend to drink more than usual. But productivity is expected to halve as a result.
A raging hangover will see many employees staring into space for an average of three hours and five minutes after their annual Christmas party. Some 46% are also likely to grab a quick kip at work after a big night out, with the top three locations being at or under their desks, in the toilets or in their car.
Leigh McCarron, Travelodge’s sleep director, said: “The office Christmas party is a longstanding British institution. After what has been a stressful year for many, it’s understandable. Workers want to let their hair down this festive season.”
Although one in five staff will take a day’s holiday after their Christmas bash this year so that they can nurse their hangover guilt-free, a quarter admitted to having called in sick due to a hangover in the past, even though 10% were convinced that their bosses knew they were pulling a fast one.
Only one in 10 respondents said that they were honest and told their manager the reason for their proposed absence, but colleagues tended not to be sympathetic with the hangover excuse. Three out of 10 said they got annoyed when a team member took time off work following a night out.
Despite the recession, meanwhile, about 38% of UK businesses are still paying for Christmas dos, although the figure was down from 45% last year. But some three out of 10 staff said that they were paying for parties themselves this year, up from 25% in 2009.