Mumbai is drinking like never before and partygoers are enjoying at a hefty cost to their employers. According to a study done by a Bangalore-based consortium, hangovers from midweek parties and weekend binges are costing Mumbai’s companies Rs 524 crore this year.
According to the study, 85 per cent of 1,500 salaried people surveyed said they suffered from hangovers. Thirty-five per cent said they were hung over at least twice a week. What this means is the traditional weekend party is spilling over to the middle of the week. Eighty-five per cent of those surveyed were men.
The startling part of the survey is that 23 per cent said hangovers indeed affected their productivity. Of these, 40 per cent owned up that they go to work up to an hour late the day they are hung over. Forty-one per cent skip half the day and 17 per cent do not turn up at all.
These figures are only for white-collar employees working in information technology, BPO, public sector, finance, manufacturing and a few other industries.
Companies are already waking up to the reality. "We start our parties early at around 6.30 pm and finish it by 10.30 pm," says Deependra Chumble, chief people officer of Mumbai-based Hexaware Technologies.
The top management also makes it a point to start early after party days to tackle absenteeism or loss of productivity. "We take a walk by the office to see whether employees are in by their usual working hours," says Chumble.
But these steps cannot stop binge drinking outside office parties, says Humayun Farid, vice-president of Bangalore-based PartySmart, a division of Himalaya Drugs. Banglaore-based Maven Research conducted the study.
The top management also sees to it that they are there for a considerable amount of time to keep things in control and not let employees go out of hand.
According to the study, 30 per cent of those surveyed drink to de-stress, by far the largest reason to drink. Socialise and be-cool are the next reasons, say 17 per cent of the respondents. The study surveyed 1,500 working men and women with an average age of 33 and average income annual of Rs 2.7 lakh.
Chumble adds that in order to avoid late-coming and absenteeism, the company restricts the amount of alcohol served in these parties. Agrees an HR officer who works for a leading financial captive BPO in Mumbai. "Alcohol is not served beyond a specific time, since shift timings for the next day have to be kept in mind.”
The hangover cost was calculated as the cost of productive hours lost due to absenteeism from work. The agency arrived at the figure starting from a research report published in the Oxford Journal on Alcohol Consumption in Western India that said 18.8 per cent of middle-aged and elderly men consume alcohol.