Hangovers, personal problems cost firms over €1.5bn
HUNGOVER workers and staff with personal problems are costing Irish companies more than €1.5bn a year.
Employers' body IBEC said that while absenteeism rates had fallen during the recession, firms were now taking the problem of under-performing workers and their effects on productivity very seriously.
No study has ever been done in Ireland on the precise cost of hungover and under-performing workers.
However, IBEC, which represents 7,500 Irish firms, industries and regional groups, estimates that the cost is now greater than that of absenteeism, which sees Irish industry lose over 11 million days each year at a cost of €1.5bn.
US studies by the 'Harvard Business Review' found that workers being unable to perform properly in their employment due to personal issues ranked as a bigger problem than absenteeism.
That study found that the loss of productivity could be as high as 33pc on Mondays and Fridays, the worst days of the week for staff personal problems.
It also found a direct link between a decline in worker productivity and personal problems.
These include binge drinking, drug abuse, emotional problems due to relationship difficulties, stress due to financial problems, and depression.
Productivity expert Deirdre Cronnelly said the US research reflected precisely the same problem in Ireland.
According to the Health Research Board's June report, 1.3 million people are categorised as problem drinkers.
"All the research indicates that binge drinking is getting worse in Ireland and it would be foolish to suggest that doesn't impact on the workplace," said Ms Cronnelly, who is director of motivational well-being compnay Afresh.
"The reality is that this is already a very big issue in Ireland - workers don't just leave their problems at the door on a Monday morning.
"Binge drinking is clearly the biggest issue, but there are many others, particularly in relation to the effect on workers of personal problems and stresses, all of which hit their performance in the workplace," Ms Cronnelly added.
"It is further compounded by the cost of mistakes made by these workers when they are working at far less than their normal levels of efficiency."