Let’s face it: it’s bound to happen that you show up to work hungover, at least once (unless you don’t and never will drink). If you do drink, though, it’s inevitable, so it’s important to know the best way to deal with being hungover at work before you show up still drunk and try to wing it.
Things To Consider Before Hand
If you’re pretty sure ahead of time you’re going to be rolling into work hungover after a big night of drinking, try not to schedule any meetings that day, if possible.
If you can’t avoid it, try to make them a bit later in the day to give yourself the chance to sober up. The later in the day a meeting is, the more time you have to wake up, which means there’s a better chance you won’t look hungover. Any meetings later in the day on a Friday are usually a lot easier to deal with, as well, and late Friday meetings often get moved or cancelled, as other people don't want to have commitments to tend to right before the weekend.
If you don’t have any sway over setting your meetings, however, and a superior has set something up on the earlier side, keep your drinking in check the night before. One night of getting plastered isn’t worth the respect you’ll lose the next day when you show up to the meeting still drunk and smelling like a whiskey barrel (unless, of course, Diddy invited you to party on his submarine - then you have to go).
How to deal with your hangover is going to depend on just how hungover you are when you wake up, and how important the impending workday is. Everyone has had the “I’m a little fuzzy” all the way up to the “kill me now” style of hangover. Each one sucks in its own special way and should be dealt with differently before heading into work.
I’m A Little Fuzzy
Sleeping more won’t help you, even though you’ll really want to. Get up, eat some food, have some coffee and take a hot shower. Doing all of that instead of sleeping in a bit longer is going to pay dividends in the coming hours. Also, make sure you have gum and use some perfume or cologne before going into work.
Don’t drown yourself in it, but use enough that it hopefully covers up some of the smell of alcohol that is going to start seeping out of your pores as the day goes on. If you don’t have any meetings that day, take the first few hours of work to do menial tasks like answering emails, tying up loose ends, etc.
These will help your brain get back into the game and get the things that need to be done, done. Drink lots of water and have a good lunch. By the time one o’clock rolls around, you should be back in it and ready to go.
I Feel Like Crap But I’ve Definitely Felt Worse
You may want to call into work on this one and say you’re going to be a little late. Grab some food, take some Advil, pound a bottle of water, and try to get back in bed for an hour or two if you can. Rolling into work close to lunch isn’t ideal, but neither is showing up with sunglasses on, mumbling something to the receptionist about turning down the lights, and then throwing up in the hall.
Again, take a long hot shower before work to try to sweat out some of the booze and wear something to mask the smell. Chew gum so it’s not all over your breath, and drink a lot of water.
Pro Tip: some types of kombucha can help alleviate symptoms as they contain a small amount of alcohol, roughly one to two percent, which can help ease you through the hangover without getting you wasted all over again. It's also a lot more acceptable than cracking a beer at work at 10AM.
My Head Feels Like It’s Going To Split In Half
This is when it’s time to just call in sick and deal with the blowback on Monday (if there is any). If you have meetings, this is bad and should be avoided, but if can, get work done from home. Conducting your meetings via phone is an option, and while not ideal, it's better than limping through the meeting glassy-eyed in front of your boss.
If you have nothing on the calendar that day, and you’re just burning a sick day, it’s probably time to go back to bed for a while and fire up Netflix to get you through the day. Just don't make a habit out of it because people will notice you consistently taking Fridays off, and no one wants to be the guy in the office that everyone makes fun of and doesn't take seriously for calling in booze sick all the time.
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