'Hangover days' just a 'spin' on flexible working

A co-founder of an employee engagement platform has called “hangover days” simply a “new spin on flexible working” and says they are far from revolutionary.

Dan Rogers, co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) at Peakon says that with five different generations now in the average office, companies should take action to understand the needs and expectations of their workforce if it wishes to nurture high-performing culture.

Mr Rogers said:

Hangover days are not actually as revolutionary as they first appear. They’re simply a new spin on flexible working practices being embraced by companies that understand their workforce needs. Only when companies give employees a voice, they can understand the needs and expectations, to then take action to fulfil them. And this is what flexible work does. From parents needing to finish work early, to caregivers who want the option to work from home at the drop of a hat, hangover days are an extension to fulfil that need. UK workplaces must be built around the people who power them in order to see the best results. We believe that work should work for people.

Still, this perk has received criticism from others who feel it is not the best way to promote flexible working.

Dr Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the CIPD said:

Focusing on flexible working is really positive, especially showing it’s not just for working parents. Looking at why each age group wants flexibility is important.

But labelling them as ‘hangover days’ might not be as helpful if it’s encouraging excessive alcohol consumption. Employers have a duty of care and need to consider that when designing policies. Is it promoting drinking? I’d suggest a rethink on the labelling.

Jonathan Richards, CEO and founder at Breathe, a company that helps to manage HR said:

The concept of implementing ‘Hangover Days’ as company policy is problematic for a number of reasons. Aside from very strongly backing a drinking culture, which already raises concerns if advocated too strongly, it’s adding another contradiction to the mix. We’re overwhelmed with messages firmly frowning upon after hours binge drinking sessions similar to the likes of Lloyd’s of London for obvious reasons – the boundaries between work and leisure are irreversibly blurred and behaviours can quickly spiral from appropriate to inappropriate.