This Company Lets Staff Book ‘Hangover Days’ If They've Had A Few Too Many
With work Christmas party season in full swing, there's bound to be a fair share of suspiciously timed sick days being booked as people nurse their hangovers.
But one company, The Audit Lab, has decided that, rather than bury their heads in the sand, they're instead going to allow their employees to take hangover days. Because better to be honest, right?
Instead of travelling into work with a banging headache after a few too many, the employees are allowed to put in a shift from the comfort of their own home.
"We would rather our employees be honest with us and tell the truth than pretend they're ill," Company director and co-founder Lee Frame, 33, said, explaining the decision.
"There's no need for them to give us weeks notice, they just need to give us a call and ask if they can work from home."
Lee added: "As you can imagine, it has gone down very well - people appreciate the trust we place in them and I think that's why it's not abused.
"We like our employees to have an element of autonomy, we don't want them looking over their shoulders.
"Obviously if people started taking advantage then we would have a rethink but so far it's been really successful."
Lee said the idea behind the 'hangover day' is partly that parents in work have a lot of perks which people without kids don't enjoy.
The director added that his staff are expected to go out in the evening for work events which often involve drink, meaning they should be allowed some leeway the next day.
Ellie Entwistle, 19, works as a PR manager at Bolton-based The Audit Lab and has taken full advantage of her employer's perk.
"Over the past 12 months I've taken two hangover days after nights out with friends and three after being out at night with work," she said.
"I love the perk because it proves that my employer had trust in me, which makes me appreciate them more and means I work hard.
"Sometimes I'm going to be more productive from home, because it means I don't have to get up, put makeup on and commute in. All I have to do is get a coffee, turn my laptop on and get working. I can work from the bed or the sofa if I need to."
Ellie is confident none of her colleagues would abuse the perk, saying "no one takes the mick".
"I was on a date night recently and ended up having a few drinks then going out with friends afterwards, which was a good opportunity for me to take a 'hangover day'.
"If I'd had to ring her and pretend to be ill I would have been really embarrassed but the way things worked out everything was fine."
Her boss Claire explained: "We wanted to offer something to younger millennials who typically go out mid-week and do the pub quiz. My team book a hangover day in advance, if they know they are going out.
"They just work in their PJs, sat at home on the couch.
"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.
"It's basically a work-from-home day, but we've sexed it up a bit to appeal to the younger generation," she said. "It promotes honesty as well."
You can read their hangover day rules in detail here.
Figures released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) show around 84 per cent of official workplace social events involve alcohol.
Four out of 10 HR managers surveyed said that alcohol can cause problems at work.
But almost 50 per cent of the managers said having some drinks at social events had a positive effect on morale and team bonding.
Speaking to the BBC, Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, thinks the branding could cause concerns.
"Focusing on flexible working is really positive, especially showing it's not just for working parents," he said.
"Looking at why each age group wants flexibility is important.
"But labelling them as 'hangover days' might not be as helpful if it's encouraging excessive alcohol consumption.
"Employers have a duty of care and need to consider that when designing policies. Is it promoting drinking? I'd suggest a rethink on the labelling."
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