Alcoholism as a whole is increasing. In fact, it is identified as one of the most common addictions, on a global scale. Yet, as pressures build and life becomes tougher, alcoholism is making its way into the workplace.
There are many negative associations with addiction and workplace performance. There are many issues employers will have to deal with when suspecting that an employee is physically dependent on alcohol. However, there are ways of dealing with alcoholism, protecting both the workplace and an employee.
If you believe that alcoholism is entering your workforce, here’s how to deal with it in a compassionate but efficient way. If you’re personally suffering with a drinking problem, we urge you to seek professional support.
The Increase of Alcoholism in the Workplace
Alcohol is commonly consumed innocently. Most people will consume alcohol to relax after a hard-working week. Yet, for others, alcohol is seen as a coping mechanism. They’ve unfortunately crossed the innocent line, where a physical and psychological dependence is present.
Unfortunately, in some cases, alcohol consumption can be down to a workplace. The stresses, the pressures, the expectations, the tight deadlines and the general unhappiness of working. This can be one of the leading causations, fuelling substance abuse. A further influence are pre-existing mental health issues, known to advance addiction greater. By mixing both of these influences together with alcohol abuse, alcoholism in the workplace is highly likely.
Not only will alcoholism impact the life of the user, with a large focus on mental health problems, alcohol problems can affect a workplace. Worries of health and safety from drinking on the job, reduced work performance and further behavioural illnesses are common ways alcoholism impacts workplaces.
With these potential damaging effects, it is important as employers to understand the signs of alcoholism, along with how to deal with addiction in the workplace.
Negative Impacts of Alcoholism in the Workplace
The biggest concern of alcoholism is the health and wellbeing of the user. This should always be prioritised. However, alongside this concern, as an employer, there are many worries linked to workplace alcoholism. Alcoholism in the workplace can cause:
– Reduced Work Performance
Drinking on the job can significantly reduce work performance. From the inability to complete general tasks, to reduced concentration, it is highly likely that the quality of work will drop. Yet, for the long-term, alcoholism can cause severe mental impairment. With this in mind, those consuming alcohol regularly will find it difficult to maintain workplace performance, deadlines and responsibilities.
– Financial Implications
With reduced work performance, and higher absentees, financial implications are likely. A workplace may have to pay out higher rates for insurance, while covering the incomplete workload.
– Pressure on Workplace Policies
How you deal with alcoholism in the workplace as an employer can affect your image, while also placing pressure on your workplace policies. As an employer, it is your duty of care to support and protect your employees. Alcoholism in the workplace may add pressure to your next moves.
– Health and Safety Concerns
Working while intoxicated is highly concerning, especially surrounding health and safety. Risk of workplace injury is heightened, along with potential injury to other employees. It is important that as an employer, a plan is in place to deal with alcoholism.
With the above associated risks, potentially damaging your company, it is vital that you understand how to deal with alcoholism in the workplace, and ways you can support those suffering.
How To Spot Alcoholism
The effects of alcohol consumption can differ significantly from person to person. Yet, there are common signs to look out for, helping you spot alcoholism.
- Are employees coming into work hungover?
- Is alcohol withdrawal commonly experienced?
- Are sick days rising?
- Has workplace performance dropped significantly?
- Are workplace injuries or accidents increasing?
- Is more alcohol fuelled activities occurring outside of work?
Some of the above can reflect alternative personal issues. With this in mind, it is important that you avoid jumping headfirst into approaching those employees, even if you do suspect alcoholism. We recommend keeping an eye on those employees while developing a fair, supportive workplace policy for addiction.
Dealing with Alcoholism in the Workplace
If you do suspect alcoholism in the workplace, we firstly recommend forming a fair yet supportive workplace policy, in place to support those struggling. This policy will aim to help those suffering while also protecting your companies’ future steps. For some employers, the best move may be to terminate employment. However, in most cases, an engrained duty of care is present, promoting a supportive approach.
Once you have a workplace policy in place, we recommend approaching the next steps with care. Sharing your worries in a compassionate way will be encouraged, along with promoting a listening ear, an open-door policy and potential treatment options.
Encouraging sessions such as alcoholism anonymous will likely advance the feeling of support. Although this may initially be unwelcome, we do advise that support is communicated to those suffering with alcoholism.
One of the most effective ways to help your employees through addiction is through professional intervention. Here a comprehensive treatment programme can be completed, helping those in need rehabilitate. Throughout this time, it is important as an employer to continue to support your employee. Avoid setting any work, reduce your workplace persona, and continue to check in.
There’s previously been a significant stigma attached to alcoholism and opening up. Yet, it’s important to understand that mental health issues and addictions are on the rise. With this in mind, it may be likely that alcoholism does enter your workplace. Having a policy in place will be beneficial.
Professional Referrals at Rehab Clinics Group
If you’re motivated to support your employee, Rehab Clinics Group, can work with your HR department to provide advice on how to deal with addiction in the workplace.
They can also offer a treatment programme at their rehab facility, helping to rehabilitate those suffering with alcoholism. Get in touch today to reduce alcoholism in the workplace, along with preparing your team for any potential situations.
Protect both your company and employees from alcoholism in the workplace.
An experienced member of Wurkplace’s Health and Safety department who helps SME’s grow and keep within current legislation requirements.
Tyler holds a CIM Level 3 in Marketing, and has most recently attained a NEBOSH General certificate (Health and Safety).