How Does Drinking Affect Job Performance the Day After?

Before you order that third Cosmo, remember you have to work the next day.
i Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Your hubby finally landed that promotion -- and you decided to celebrate with that bottle of champagne you received as a wedding gift. Or maybe your best friend is in town, and you hit your favorite watering hole for a few drinks before dinner. In either case, you overindulged -- and now you have to head to work. While a single cocktail at happy hour after work, or a glass of wine with dinner, probably won’t affect your performance at work the next day, getting your party on during the week is not going to help you be at your best in the office.

Weeknight Drinking

    While your long-term job performance is not likely to be affected by a single night of drinking, your performance at work the following day will probably suffer. In fact, a study in the "American Journal of Psychiatry" found that, the higher your blood alcohol level is, the more likely it is that you’ll show signs of impairment more than 12 hours later. These could include illness, fatigue, doing work poorly and problems interacting with co-workers -- in addition to the possibility of still being “drunk.” If nothing else, you won’t feel good, and probably won’t want to deal with your micromanaging boss or irritating co-workers when you have a hangover.

Hidden Costs

    According to the American Council for Drug Education, those who abuse alcohol and other substances are more likely to have trouble at work and perform poorly than those who are more moderate users. However, drinking too much can still cause problems even if you only drink occasionally. Coming to work after drinking to excess triples your chances of getting hurt on the job, for example, and can decrease your productivity by a third, costing your company time and money.

Affects on Co-Workers

    Not only does your hangover affect your job performance, it can also influence your co-workers. When your hangover keeps you from filing the TPS reports, your co-workers may have to pick up the slack, creating resentment and lower morale in the workplace. And since your mood is likely to be influenced by how you’re feeling, you might not be as pleasant and professional as you would be normally, which could lead to the need to apologize or do damage control later on.

Handling Your Hangover

    So you had a few more margaritas then you intended when you went out with the girls last night, and now you have a pounding headache and upset stomach. While you might be able to convince your co-workers that it’s just a nasty bug, you need to seek relief from your hangover and get through the day. Start off by drinking plenty of water instead of a cup of coffee in the morning, or brew a cup of tea and add some honey and ginger to ease inflammation and settle your stomach. Eggs contain amino acids that can help flush the toxins out of your system, and bananas contain potassium, which can help relieve fatigue and nausea, so eat a healthy breakfast.

the nest