Addiction in the Workplace

Addiction has the potential to destroy one’s personal life and can have similar effects on one’s career. Substance abuse at work can be a serious issue with damaging consequences for employers and colleagues alike. Employees who use drugs are more likely to miss work, which negatively impacts on costs and customer service. They’re also more likely to file worker compensation claims, as workplace accidents are more likely to occur.

  • For employers, the most obvious signs of drug addiction in their employees are changes in their behaviour. Inexplicable changes in personality such as becoming moodier and more irritable and the lessened ability to be attentive to their work displaying a lack of enthusiasm and motivation.
  • Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol are frequently unable to manage their responsibilities. They are more inclined to take days off sick or show up late for work, those suffering are also more prone to a higher job turn-over rate.
  • Some other changes that can alert employers to employees struggling with addiction are physical signs. These physical signs can include shaking and sweaty hands, runny nose and frequent rubbing of the nose, lack of hygiene and red or watery eyes.
  • Employees abusing drugs or alcohol may also significantly increase the amount of bathroom trips they take. This is so because they need extra time in private to use drugs or drink alcohol. These trips can also be needed to sleep off the effects or they may pass out from them as well as extra trips needed for nausea caused by their usage.
  • Using drugs or alcohol daily, is an expensive habit. Money quickly runs out and those struggling with drugs are always in need of more money. Employees using substances may frequently ask for pay-advances or borrow money from colleagues, often not repaying their debt. Some individuals will create and nurture relationships with co-workers specifically to repeatedly borrow money from them.
  • Substance abuse can cause all sorts of negative consequences for a business and often support is required to change the behaviours of an employee and help steer them back to a positive path. With residential, out-patient and from home treatment options available, the first step may be to have an open discussion with your employee and support them in getting help. Remember that addiction is a disease and those suffering may need professional help, so allowing your staff to use their sick leave to go to treatment can be a good way to support them.