Most Victorians think getting smashed at the office Christmas party isn’t cool, according to VicHealth.
The agency’s 2017 survey of 2000+ Victorians finds that 66% think it’s unacceptable, and almost half agreed it was “totally” unacceptable. And, these days, less than 20% of Victorians think drinking to get drunk is OK.
VicHealth has given us eight things to think about before hitting the free drinks (unless you work for an agency like Australian Border Force, where staff have to pay for their own and there is no fun allowed on the minister’s time).
- Set a limit: it’s easy to lose track of how many drinks you’ve had, so try to limit yourself to less than four alcoholic drinks at your work party.
- Make the switch: alternate alcoholic drinks with water or juice.
- Mix it up: if you’re hosting a party, why not mix up a batch of delicious mocktails? Try lime juice, strawberry, pineapple, soda water and mint for an alcohol-free drink that’s far from boring.
- Eating’s not cheating: if you are going to drink make sure you don’t neglect to eat. Too many drinks on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster so make sure you have a decent lunch.
- It’s not a race: remember to pace yourself when you’re drinking to avoid going too hard, too fast.
- Hit the d-floor: it’s hard to dance with a drink in your hand (without spilling it all over yourself and your colleagues) so get moving and forget about the booze.
- Booze-free fun: look for work party ideas that don’t involve drinking. Why not do something active like play lawn bowls, plan an Amazing Race style challenge for your team or head to the zoo?
- Get home safe: if you drink – simple, don’t drive. Try to look out for your colleagues too so everyone gets home safely.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter pointed out in the missive that alcohol can hurt “your reputation around the office” as well as your health. While the message includes a does of humour and Christmas cheer, the effects of the world’s most popular poison are no joke and Rechter is happy with the survey results.
“This research shows that most Victorians want to avoid getting drunk at work Christmas parties which is good news for people’s health and wellbeing,” she said.
“Getting boozed at your office party could leave you with more than a big hangover. The more we drink the more likely we are to get injured or do something we might regret.
“No one sets out to be harmed by alcohol, and no one wants to be harmed by someone that’s been drinking.
“This festive season, we encourage people to have a good time and celebrate with their colleagues, but keep in mind that most people in your office may not think it’s acceptable to get drunk.”
Rechter thinks the survey results confirm a shift in drinking culture.
“There’s been a shift in the way people think about drinking and getting drunk,” she said. “Young people in particular are drinking less than older generations were ten years ago and are more likely to support tougher alcohol policies than previous generations.”
“This research challenges the myth that drinking alcohol and parties go hand-in-hand. You don’t need to get drunk to have a good Christmas.”
Ms Rechter is also well aware that at this time of year, there’s always a spike in assaults and emergency department visits, ambulance call-outs and hospital admissions for alcohol poisoning.