Guide To Alcoholism In The Workplace

Kelly Bater
December 20, 2023

Without a doubt, alcohol abuse is a serious issue which can lead to long term mental and physical health problems. Additionally, being unable to maintain relationships, to the irreversible damages that it can lead to one’s career, alcohol addiction can undoubtedly lead to permanent damage to a person without a doubt.

In addition to damages, it can cause to one’s personal life, an alcohol problem often enters and impacts one workplace. More often than not, the person’s experiencing this alcohol problem, often blames the job pressures and also workplace culture, and additionally other reasons such as home struggles which vary between individuals.

With the current circumstances, it is highly likely that some employees are drinking more than they may usually and with the impact of Covid-19 restrictions continuing for the foreseeable future, a more longer term issue may evolve.

Often business owners, employers and co-workers recognise abuse of alcohol at the workplace and should understand their effects. It is always essential to understand the right way of dealing with the alcoholism issue in the workplace. The guide below shows how to deal with alcoholism in the workplace, and steps to take in case it happens at the workplace.

The Increase of Alcohol Abuse in The Workplace

Use of alcohol as a coping device has increased in most places, as the impact of drinking is seen more frequently in the way of carrying it over in the workday. Although alcohol abuse at the workplace may be regarded as a new concept, some employees have been recorded consuming alcohol before work, during and after work on several occasions before the top management level identifies the cases.

The consequences of such activities could be severe. However, in the case of addressing an employee on alcohol abuse, it’s always good to remember that the person didn’t choose that addiction. It begins commonly as an answer for some underlying triggers, for example, parenting concerns, marital issues or any other issue that start to manifest.

With the information in mind, persons with alcoholism may some of the time view their workplace as a trigger. From the working relationship to the working performance, expectations can be a cause of strife as most situations can be seen as triggers for drinking.

As an employer, it is essential to promote those workplaces that do not nurture a mentality as this kind of substance abuse is said to be acceptable at any levels. The workplace should instead be able to foster equality, positivity and support. Though there will be some chances of alcoholism getting at the workplace, the ability to deal with this issue at the workplace decreases significantly.

One of the most supportive and beneficial moves you can take as an employer is to try and offer an assistance program to the employee and support those already suffering from alcoholism. The employee assistance program will not only assist those affected with addiction and some mental issues that are associated with it, but it will also give support to co-workers and family members that have been affected by the employee’s alcohol abuse as well.

How Can Alcohol Abuse Impact the Workplace?

Abuse of alcohol in a long duration may impact on the workplace in some of the following ways:

Health and Safety

Consumption of alcohol at the workplace can results in high risks of accidents and injuries, mistakes that are unnecessary and other top cost errors that can be dangerous in almost all workplace setting. However, in most physical laborious positions, there is great personal risk injury which can be a major and an expensive issue.

Workplace Performance

As alcohol gets abused, it is evident enough that a person’s ability to perform a task will be much lower. The quality of work done, productivity and professionalism will most likely be noticeably affected by the alcoholism.

Workplace Relationships

Outlooks, behaviours, performance and attitudes can also be affected by alcoholism. Co-workers will keep distances which will further exacerbate their issues about addiction. It may add some feelings of alienation and hence contribute to alcoholism.

Liability and Losses

Abuse of alcohol in the workplace leads to the addition of responsibility, and the assurance rates of the company can be profoundly impacted, from moving the workplace dynamic to causing accidents that involve the co-workers, potential damages associated to alcoholism at the workplace can get to the extreme and far-reaching.

The Importance of a Supportive Workplace Culture

Mental health can be influenced by being content at work and the overall well-being. Part of your duty as an employer is to promote a supportive and positive workplace culture. Poor working conditions, extended hours, and additional stressors, such as low pay rates and negative interpersonal skills between management and hourly staff can lend to an overall atmosphere of unhappiness, triggering emotional drinking from at-risk employees.

An open-door policy that provides a non-retaliatory and safe atmosphere for the employees to channel their concerns it’s also a great idea to encourage talking of common workplace concerns. In a positive and supportive workplace environment, the employees may feel comfortable talking through their challenges and in most cases, asking for assistance with alcoholism struggles and substance abuse.

Conversely, a negative work atmosphere, abuse of alcohol may be in use and undetected, which will, in turn, result in inferior outcomes for anyone involved. Additionally, programs such as rehabilitation should be offered to assist in mental health issues and substance abuse problems.

Workplace Guidelines and Actions Against Workplace Alcohol Abuse

While a situation where an employee arrives for work in an intoxicated state would normally be a disciplinary matter, issues where an employee is being affected by heavy drinking may take time to manage. This is particularly the case with so-called “functioning alcoholics” who may not recognise they have a problem.

Key issues to be considered are:

  • What are the health and safety implications related to the individual’s role (e.g. operating machinery, driving etc)?
  • Can you make temporary adjustments while an employee is receiving treatment?
  • Do you have access to support mechanisms to deal with such situations?
  • If problems cannot be resolved, are you aware of capability dismissal procedures?

Employers have a responsibility of care and to respond to claims or proof on alcoholism and other dangerous abuses in the workplace. To reduce the chances of developing workplace alcohol or drug abuse issues, it is always crucial for employers to be able to recognize and give signs of addiction to their employees.

Providing them with the assistance program or put other measures in place to prevent alcohol and substance abuse to become more harmful to their employees. Employees should always maintain positive workplace attitude fostered by their employers when it comes to issues of addiction and mental health. Also, the employers should be in a position at all time to listen to the affected employees who come to seek help from them.

By being a compassionate foster in a workplace, you can always encourage the employees seeking for treatment to come to you other than allowing the problem become the one that will affect those in the workplace or the ones in the personal dealings with the employee. Instead of ignoring, employers should be addressing the matters of one-on-one compassionate enough for those seeking help.

Professional Help for Alcohol Addictions

Due to the changing world, it becomes challenging to ask for help regarding addiction and mental health. When you offer support to your employees through Rehab Clinics and assistance program, will be of help to employees on issue addiction and mental health.

Alcohol abuse, substance abuse and other mental health assistance are easy and straightforward to start the process. You should always help your employees to get support on substance and drug abuse they need to live a healthy life inside and outside workplaces.

For persons who are undergoing an addiction or mental health either inside or outside workplaces due to alcohol abuse, they learn more about Rehab Clinic Group’s professional alcohol rehab services.

I would like to thank Rehab Clinics Group for their input to this blog and for agreeing to us including a link to their services.

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