Why was this project run?

This project is one of the projects funded by VicHealth’s Men’s Risky Drinking Initiative which aims to raise awareness of, and shift the elements of, practice that influence men’s risky drinking. Previous research found that hospitality workers tend to drink more than the general population, and that male hospitality workers frequently engaged in risky drinking practices.

Research has highlighted that hospitality students are heavily influenced by workplace norms regarding alcohol use but may be unaware of the relationship between working conditions (e.g., workplace stress) and alcohol use. The ‘Hospo Drinking Cultures’ animated documentaries focus on experiences of male hospitality students and workers to acknowledge these existing drinking norms and practices while promoting positive culture change to reduce alcohol harms.

The animated documentaries provide an opportunity to proactively influence the drinking norms and practices of students prior to working within the hospitality industry, in addition to promoting culture change within the hospitality industry more broadly.

What role do workplaces play in drinking among hospitality workers?

People and environments around us influence the way in which we drink, and the workplace is one area where shared understandings and activities among co-workers can influence drinking. Work environments can also have an impact on staff health and wellbeing, highlighting the importance of cultivating healthy work environments.

While hospitality work can be really rewarding, it can also be demanding, stressful, precarious and undervalued. Challenging hospitality work rhythms, conditions and environments can place a toll on physical and mental health which can contribute to drinking.

These animations describe workplace-driven stressors, and tell the stories of how real people have found other ways for colleagues to debrief, bond and relax after a demanding shift. These experiences highlight the role that workplaces can play in cultivating healthy work environments and reduce risky drinking, which can lead to an improvement in the health and wellbeing of their staff

What is “risky drinking”?

Drinking is never free of risk, and it can result in harm to the person who drinks and sometimes to those around them. The official Australian guidelines state that healthy adults should consume no more than four standard drinks on any one day, and no more than 10 standard drinks per week to reduce their risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury. These guidelines were developed using a range of inputs including the latest scientific studies on the health effects of alcohol.

How were animations developed?

The animated documentaries were informed by extensive research with hospitality students and staff in Victoria, which was conducted by researchers from Monash University and Turning Point in partnership with Chisholm TAFE. The Monash University Human Research and Ethics Committee approved the research (Project number: 22458). As part of the research, we surveyed almost 300 hospitality workers and students, and conducted 40 in-depth interviews to gain an understanding of the experiences, settings, shared meanings, skills and practices of alcohol consumption in hospitality.

Animator, Isobel Knowles, and her creative team then developed the animated documentaries in consultation with participants and based them on the main themes and insights from the research. This involved inviting the five participants to take part in recorded animation interviews. With the input and consent of the five participants, we used edited versions of their audio-recordings as the narration and inspiration for the draft animated documentaries.

Draft animated documentaries were shared with participants and stakeholders to obtain their feedback, which helped to further refine the documentaries. Finally, almost 40 hospitality workers and students provided their final input through an animation reaction testing survey. This highlighted positive reactions towards the animations and how they presented hospitality workers and alcohol consumption in the hospitality industry.