Is 3pm Friday drinks part of your workplace culture?

Monday September 25, 2017 11:03

In workplaces all over NZ at 3pm on Friday afternoons it’s time to “down-tools” and head to the staffroom and crack open a beer/wine or 2 each.

We’ve been doing it for many years. It’s part of our culture. It’s how we celebrate the work done this week. It’s the start of our weekend. It’s time to relax, tell some stories, crack some jokes, have some fun.

But maybe it’s time to stop lubricating these bonding sessions with alcohol.

3pm Friday Drinks at Work

We’ll talk more about this idea in a moment, but first, let’s talk about your machines and equipment.

You look after your machines with regular maintenance right? As you know, doing so maximises the productivity of the machine and protects your return-on-investment.

Do you run a similar “periodic maintenance” programme for your team members also?

But before we get into that, how do you think your staff feel? Do they feel like they are just a number, a cog in a machine?

You’ll be aware that if that’s the case, they are more likely to be disengaged, absent more often and more likely to be injured in the workplace.

Did you know that a well-being programme can help? Do you have one in your workplace?

Health and well-being programmes are put in place by employers to improve the lifestyle choices and health of workers as a way of preventing chronic illness.

Increasingly these programs are recognised for potentially influencing worker productivity and performance at work.

Our estimate is that only 10% of New Zealand businesses have a well-being programme, so take comfort in the fact that if you don’t either, your business is not alone, but take a look at all the positives you’re missing out on:

On This Page

8 Benefits of a Well-being Programme

  1. A more engaged workforce
  2. Higher productivity
  3. More enjoyment and job satisfaction and ambition to improve
  4. Positive attitudes individually which collectively builds a positive workplace culture
  5. Improved physical and mental health
  6. Less absenteeism
  7. Increase employee retention
  8. Less chance of injury in the workplace resulting in less ACC costs

5 Most Common Reasons Why You Don’t Have a Health and Well-being Programme Already

  1. “We’d like to, but we don’t know where to start!”
    • That’s what this article is for! Keep reading for free tips and advice to guide you (or reach out to one of our Securo Health & Safety consultant and we can help)
  2. “I don’t think I can make time for this, I’ve got a lot on already!”
    • Yes, you are already busy with running your business
    • Yes, you are already busy with the need-to-do stuff with your Health and Safety programmes
    • Yes, Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s) like yours are not well supported here in NZ
    • And Yes, you still need to make room for this because it’s important
  3. “I don’t have the money, finances are tight at the moment!”
    • Research into “Employee Assistance Programmes” (EAP) in the US and Europe has shown an average 5-1 return on investments into Health and Well-being Programmes. That’s $5 back for every $1 you spend. How’s that for a return-on-investment?
    • As a guideline plan on spending 1% of annual salary expenditure on your well being programs. Spend up to 3-5% for an additional return-on-investment
  4. “Sounds interesting, but I don’t think my team will like it”
    • A gut feeling is one thing, a couple of casual conversations is another, but what you need to do is conduct a survey with your team and see what they think. We provide templates for doing this below
  5. “Even if we went ahead with this, how would I measure results?”
    • Yes, sometimes it can be hard to quantity, however you can expect the following ripple effects from deep within your organisation, radiating out to your clients/customers. Look at your customer feedback, errors and returns, workplace atmosphere, and employee goodwill, that should give you some indication of the effectiveness and value of such programmes. (For the accountants out there, there are spreadsheet programmes to better quantify from a cost-benefit perspective from this investment).

How To Get Started With Your Well-being Programme in 8 Steps

  1. Start by conducting a Needs Assessment Survey (see Appendix A below for a sample) to determine what your team want and need in their health and wellbeing program
  2. Next, conduct a Health and Well-being Survey (see Appendix B below for a sample) to gather baseline data about your team as a whole
    • We are not suggesting you deliver this survey yourself to your team members. It is likely you would encounter resistance because much of the information is personal. To deliver a health needs assessment like this, you will need the help of a health provider.
  3. Based on the results of these surveys, determine what changes/improvements you’d like to roll out first and announce your plans
  4. Get buy-in from your entire management team early, they must all lead by example
  5. Dedicate some budget: 1% of annual salary expenditure is a good start but consider the 3-5% range.
  6. Identify and appoint a champion or enthusiastic person to lead the programme
  7. Don’t be afraid to start small and build up from there
  8. Roll out a series of incremental improvements and monitor the results


A Shortcut To Well-Being: Showing Appreciation

One sure-fire way to improve the well-being of your team and clearly signals to them that “they care about me as a person” is... appreciation.

Some managers might think “Why should I thank my team for doing a job they are being paid for?”, but that wouldn’t be you, right?

Most managers have no idea how strong a motivator just showing appreciation could be.

6 reasons why you should show your appreciation:

  1. Because it is often the difference between minimal performance and excellent performance
  2. Because it build trust and stronger relationships
  3. Because when people know you value them, they value you in return, and want to work with you
  4. Because when your team feel great about their contribution they are motivated and engaged
  5. Expressing gratitude is good for you too. People who say thank you are happier and are well-liked
  6. Because showing appreciation starts a self-fueling cycle of positivity that improves the culture

5 ways to show your appreciation:

  1. Just say thank you. Face-to-face. One person at a time. Shake their hand. Let them know that you value them
  2. Write hand-written thank you notes
  3. Give each person a mug with their name on it
  4. Get the CEO to walk around and hand out $10 cheques once a month (the idea is that the cheque doesn’t get cashed, but kept as a trophy for being caught doing something positive)
  5. Establish a profit sharing scheme that gives back to your employees for their contribution

What is your role in your team members mental health?

Mental health no longer has the stigma that it used to (thanks John Kirwan!) And 16% of us have been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in our lives including depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder (Source: Mental Health Foundation of NZ, 2014). And what about the others that have struggled alone from time to time but haven’t sought out an official diagnosis?

Even if the source of their issue is not work-related, it will eventually impact on their work because we are holistic beings who find it hard to compartmentalise and “leave our troubles at the door”. You can understand that these people would be more prone to injury and take more time off as they are preoccupied with their own problems?

The key here is to intervene at an earlier stage, by supporting them the best you can through a Health and Well-being programme.

Is It Time To Close The Bar On Beer-o’clock Friday’s?

We started this article by posing the question about Friday-3’s. Is this the only way to celebrate the end of the working week and show your appreciation for a job well-done?

Can we have just as much fun without the alcohol? How much better would that make the recovering alcoholics in the room feel?

If we think of our team as our family, are we acting responsibly and in their best interests when we make it easy for them to put 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks into their bodies just before they get in their vehicles and drive home?

Spend a few moments contemplating how comfortable you are with the alcoholic component of this arrangement.

Imagine announcing: “Team, we have been thinking about removing the alcohol from beer-o’clock on Friday’s to be more responsible and healthy. Can we try it for 8 weeks without the alcohol? Would you be interested in calling it the brisk walk-around-the-block-o’clock instead?”

Can you answer “Yes!” to the following 4 questions?

  1. Have you conducted a Health and Well-being survey?
  2. Have you conducted a Needs Assessment Survey?
  3. Do you have a process in place for showing appreciation?
  4. Have you put some thought into alternatives to the beer-o’clock Friday’s?

If you answered “Yes!” to those questions, well done!

If not, the good news is, help is at hand. Call Securo on 0800 55 33 44 or email

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Appendix A: Sample Needs Assessment Survey

Which of the following would you most like included in our workplace health and wellbeing program? Please tick all that apply. Note that it will not be possible to implement all chosen activities but your response will help identify areas of interest.

  • Bicycle or walk to work activities
  • Blood pressure checks by a health nurse
  • Cholesterol level check by the Heart foundation
  • Easily accessible stairwells
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Exercise/physical activity sessions
  • Fatigue management information sessions
  • Financial planning support
  • Flu vaccinations
  • Health assessments – ‘face-to-face’
  • Health assessments – ‘online’
  • Health coaching to address physical activity or nutrition issues
  • Healthy food options available (e.g. fruit bowls, vending machines, canteens)
  • Information seminars/workshops
  • Injury prevention/rehabilitation services
  • Lunch/break room
  • Lung function test to determine your “lung age” (have contest!)
  • Activities that promote good mental health
  • Organisation sport team(s)
  • Pedometer event or walking challenge
  • 15 minute activity sessions run by a personal trainer
  • Personal development opportunities for life skills
  • Shower and change facilities
  • Smoking cessation program / support group (e.g. Quit smoking program)
  • Sports/activity days
  • Stress management programs and strategies
  • Stretching sessions
  • 15 minute break for jumping jacks
  • Storage areas (e.g. bike storage, lockers)
  • Subsidised membership to off-site facilities/programs
  • ‘Walk and talk’ or active meetings
  • Website with health and wellbeing information
  • Workplace massage

When would you prefer these activities to occur?

  • Before work
  • During lunch time
  • After work
  • At weekends

How often would you attend a workplace health and wellbeing activity (if offered this frequently)?

  • Every day
  • A few times a week
  • Once a week
  • A few times a month
  • Once a month
  • Less than once a month

What factors would stop you from participating in workplace health and wellbeing activities?

  • Not enough time
  • Not motivated
  • Too expensive
  • Not interested
  • Out on the road/away from the worksite or office most of the time
  • Other (please specify)  ___________________


What other health and wellbeing initiatives would you like to see implemented here?

  • ___________________


How else can we help you reduce your stress and fatigue?

  • ___________________

Appendix B: Sample Health and Wellbeing Survey

Note: We are not suggesting you deliver this survey yourself to your team members. It is likely you would encounter resistance because much of the information is personal. To deliver a health needs assessment like this, you will need the help of a health provider.

  1. Smoking:
    • Do you smoke?
    • If so, how keen are you to stop smoking?
  2. Nutrition:
    • How many serves of vegetables (including fresh, frozen and tinned vegetables) do you usually eat each day?
    • How many serves of fruit (including fresh, frozen and tinned fruit) do you usually eat each day?
    • How many days of the week do you usually eat junk foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar (such as deep fried foods, hot  chips, pies, pastries, chocolates, lollies, etc)?
    • Why do you usually choose fast food instead of something you prepared yourself? (Please tick all that apply)
      • I never eat/drink fast food
      • Cheaper
      • More convenient
      • Tastes better/good
      • Availability
      • The hours I work
      • Makes me feel better when I am stressed
      • I don’t know how to prepare healthy meals to take to work
      • Access to vending machines
      • I cannot be bothered to bring something healthy from home
      • Lack of access to kitchen/food preparation facilities
  3. Hydration:
    • On average, during your normal working day, how many glasses (250 ml) of fluid (water, cordial, soft drink, juice, milk, coffee, tea) do you consume?
    • On average, during your normal working day, how many glasses (250 ml) of plain drinking water do you consume?
  4. Alcohol:
    • Do you drink alcohol? If so:
    • How many days of the week do you drink?
    • How many standard drinks do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?
    • On any single occasion do you ever consume 5 or more standard drinks?
  5. Physical Activity:
    • How many times a week do you usually do:
      • 20 minutes or more of vigorous-intensity physical activity that makes you sweat or puff and pant (for example, heavy lifting, digging or jogging)?
      • 30 minutes or more of walking (for example, walking from place to place for exercise or recreation)?
      • 30 minutes or more of other moderate-intensity physical activity that increases your heart rate or makes you breathe harder than normal (for example, carrying light loads, slow cycling)?
    • Please indicate reasons why you are NOT more physically active (tick all that apply).
      • Too tired
      • Not enough time
      • Lack of facilities
      • Shift work, especially nights or overtime
      • Out on the road most of the time
      • Not encouraged to
      • No shower facilities
      • Not motivated
      • Not enough flexible time in work hours
      • Health issues
      • I am already active enough
  6. Time Spent Sitting:
    • Please estimate the number of hours that you spend at your workplace on a typical day.
    • Please estimate the number of hours that you spend sitting at your workplace, including during meal and snack breaks, on a typical day.
    • How many times, on a typical day while at your workplace, do you interrupt your sitting, e.g. by standing up, walking somewhere or getting a drink?
  7. Well-being:
    • The next ten questions are about how you have been feeling in the past four weeks.
      • In the past four weeks, about how often did you feel tired for no good reason?
      • How often did you feel nervous?
      • How often did you feel so nervous that nothing could calm you down?
      • How often did you feel hopeless?
      • How often did you feel restless or fidgety?
      • How often did you feel so restless you could not sit still?
      • How often did you feel depressed?
      • How often did you feel that everything was an effort?
      • How often did you feel so sad that nothing could cheer you up?
      • How often did you feel worthless?
  8. Stress:
    • Over the past 12 months have any of the following areas brought you under high levels of stress? (tick all that apply)
      • work load or responsibilities
      • other anxieties about work
      • financial worries
      • relationship problems
      • your own health
      • health of or need to care for a family member
      • other problems / issues with a close family member
      • bereavement
      • moving home
      • none of the above
      • Other (please specify) ________
    • Have you tried to reduce or manage stress in your life over the last 12 months by doing any of the following? (tick all that apply)
      • taking a holiday
      • reducing working hours
      • taking sick leave
      • being disciplined about taking a day of rest each week
      • giving time to a hobby or leisure activity
      • taking regular exercise
      • taking medication
      • drinking alcohol
      • mindfulness techniques
      • meditation
      • yoga
      • overeating
      • undereating
      • none of the above
      • Other (please specify) ________

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