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Happy Holidays! Your Co-workers Have Hangovers

This time last year, I blogged about a Caron Treatment Centers survey that revealed half of U.S. employees have missed a day of work due to holiday party hangovers. Now Caron is back with its 2012 survey and, well, keep the ibuprofen handy, employers!

Earlier this month, Harris Interactive surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults on behalf of Caron Treatment Centers and you might want to go pour yourself a tall, hot cup of coffee because the results are rather staggering. Nearly all of those surveyed (96%) said they have either come to work with a bad hangover after a holiday party, or know someone else who has done so. Almost two-thirds (64%) of our drunk co-workers couldn't even work up the energy to leave the house the day after and called in sick. That's a lot of bad excuses.

But wait, the Caron Treatment Center/Harris Interactive survey gets worse: 61% of survey participants have shown up late to work, or left early, due to alcohol-related bad mojo. 54% said they were mentally "checked-out" at work. 46% had trouble completing work-related tasks. 43% gave up on some work-related tasks until the next day when they were feeling better, and 27% decided the day after the holiday party was the day to take a long lunch break.

Step back in time to the events leading up to the hangover, where employees are embarrassing themselves by committing career-ending gaffes at the company holiday party. A full 59% in the Caron/Harris Interactive survey have watched party-goers argue and get aggressive with each other, while 51% have watched other party-goers start to swear like drunken sailors. Verging on half (45%) have been subjected to way too much information, and probably wish their drunken counterparts would stop over-sharing already. If there's a table, it must be danced on. Okay, I exaggerate about the table dancing, but some of your co-workers can get quite out of hand at company holiday parties, even if they're usually very adept professionals.

Employers might want to keep an eye on employees under age 35 in particular. Watch out, Silicon Valley: Mix two parts youth-obsessed workplace with two parts in-house Kegarator, and you could pour yourself some real problems. As I also blogged last year, today's younger employees are much more likely to become binge drinking alcoholics than Don Draper's generation. That's a lot of drunken rants on Twitter. This goes for the Gen Y Donna Drapers of the world, too. Take that, Roger Sterling!

So to paraphrase the Most Interesting Man In the World: Stay alert, my friends. Of course, he's hawking beer in all those funny teevee commercials, but do keep an eye on your co-workers (even the ones you don't particularly like) this holiday season and please don't let them drive if they seem even remotely a few spreadsheets to the wind. Carpool with a designated driver or better yet, stay sober at the company holiday party. Feel free to drop a stack of spreadsheets on your hungover co-worker's desk the day after, though. We're here to work, people.

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