After work, it's usually time head home, enjoy dinner, watch something on Netflix and hit the hay. Other nights, perhaps you'll go out for a couple of stiff beverages. Of course, a few drinks can easily lead to handfuls, and before you know it, you're waking up in the suit you wore the previous morning. Your post-dusk memory is fuzzy around the edges, strange bruises dot your body, and a sick, sloshy feeling rests in the depths of your stomach.
The result of the drinking binge — a hangover — means that the day after is for recovery, even if it takes place at work. And with a work recovery comes minimal work, drawn shades, plenty of fluids, and some hearty coma-inducing lunch fare. According to The Atlantic (with supporting evidence courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention), that routine adds up: In 2006, for instance, alcohol consumption cost the economy a staggering $220 billion. What's worse, over 70% of that loss came from the dip in productivity our binges cause.
In per-drink numbers, that's about $1.90 per pint or cocktail glass, which may not seem like a lot. Until you consider that the entire cost of global natural disasters in 2012 totaled up to only $160 billion, about $60 billion dollars short of what we cost ourselves every year by over-consuming.
Those lost productivity cost numbers are so high because workers playing hooky may not get paid, which can in turn affect what they're able to put into the economy. And even for those lucky ones who get paid when they fail to show up at their desk, employees take the financial hit, which can still keep money out of the economic cycle.
Ultimately, it's difficult to say how much more would get done if no one ever drank to excess, played hooky or zombie-walked through a day at the office. After all, drinking with friends can reinforce social structures, which hard workers depend on for support. The occasional binge drinking session may also release personal tensions, no matter how unhealthy the process. Not drinking heavily on the occasional weekend might do away with hangovers and their related economic costs, but who's to say that never letting yourself get a little too loose wouldn't hack away at productivity? And on the first Monday back after a national holiday, couldn't we all use a little drink?
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