Preventing Workplace Addiction: One Step at a Time

Addiction in the workplace may not be as uncommon as you think.  In fact, a 2013 study from The National Institute on Drug Abuse claimed that nearly 10 percent of Americans have used an illegal substance in the past month. Addiction can strike at the highest level of management, all the way down to the lowest level employee. Employees could be abusing drugs or alcohol to cope with home life or other personal problems, but perhaps it is work that is leading them to substance abuse and addiction.

Having a comprehensive strategy in place can prevent workplace addiction from spreading, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the problem completely. Employee prevention, the promotion of health and wellness, and continued education on the topic could help reduce addiction in your workplace, in turn maximizing your employee's performance.

Employee Prevention: Creating a Drug Free Workplace

Completely ending addiction may seem impossible, but every small step towards prevention can be helpful. The following are recommended strategies that could help reduced employee addiction in the office.

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Reduce Workplace Stress – According to the World Health Organization, stress in the workplace costs  companies 300 billion dollars annually. Anxiety, stress, frustration and anger are all common problems employee's experience because of work. Talking to your employee's about these emotions and allowing them to vent could go along way in reducing workplace addiction. For more on reducing workplace stress click here.

Professional Self Development – Taking the time to work with your employee's individually can reduce workplace addiction. Showing them that you care about their development as a professional and in their personal life, could make them more inclined to care themselves. Perhaps, those employee's who are addicted or in recovery would benefit from the knowledge and guidance of self-development. This might be a great way to reduce the risk of addiction and maximize your employee's performances. Some people, addicted or not, struggle with self-confidence. It is another factor that leads to addiction. Developing your employee's into better professionals and people may help end addiction in the workplace. 

Employee Education – Workshops that promote ending addiction and healthy living can reduce workplace substance abuse. These workshops could give employees healthy ways to reduce stress and   give them insight into healthy alternatives besides substance abuse. Employee's could also benefit from being made aware of addiction support groups. Encourage employees to educate themselves. Here are some ways to educate your employee's.

Developing a Substance Abuse Policy

A substance abuse policy can be developed to give your employees a clear understanding of the company's stance on this issue. The policies created may differ from industry to industry, and even from business to business, but there are some standard policies that should be considered in all substance abuse policies. A substance abuse policy should be communicated to your employees so they are aware of the consequences of addiction in the workplace.

The Value of Health and Wellness

Promoting health and wellness can reduce workplace addiction by empowering employee's to treat themselves better. Perhaps employees are unaware of natural ways to cope with stress,  unwind from work or improve their physical and mental wellness. When you heave a health and wellness program, you are increasing your chances of producing higher quality employees. There are natural tactics you can implement to help your employees cope with the stresses of every day life.

  1. Exercise – Physical exercise releases brain chemicals that are similar to a high of a drug or alcohol. When you promote exercise in your office, you are promoting a healthier and happier lifestyle. Exercise is also known  proven to reduce stress, depression and anger.
  1. Diet and Nutrition – Promoting healthy eating can result in an increase in physical and mental wellness with your employees. There are food that have been proven to reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness and pleasure. When someone is eating right, they will feel better and also have less chances of being sick.
  1. Holistic Practices – This has become an increasingly popular tactic that is being adopted not only by companies, but addiction rehab facilities as well. Holistic practices are exercises both physical and mental, that focus on healing the mind, body and soul. Holistic practices include: yoga, breathing exercises, acupuncture massage and more. Holistic or natural tactics can reduce stress and addiction in the workplace.

Continued Education: Always Learning and Improving

As human resources professionals you may know the benefits of constantly learning about the latest trends in your field. In order to prevent or end addiction, it can help if you first have an understanding of the nature of addiction. Also, keeping up to date with current legal rules and regulations might help avoid any legal incidents, and perhaps save you money. By taking initiative to stay up to date with the world of addiction and recovery, you could be putting yourself 10 steps ahead of the game.

  • Learn about addiction treatment options
  • Learn about the nature of addictions
  • Learn about the recovery process and supporting addicts
  • Research valuable resources for your employees
  • Stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations
  • Make sure you are aware of laws concerning addiction and your industry
  • Reevaluate your substance abuse policy and see where things can improve

Taking Initiative to End Addiction

If everything could be accomplished with the simple wave of a wand, there would be no need for human resources. Although ending addiction in your workplace may seem like a big task, simple comprehensive measures can be but into place to help change the mindset of your office. Employee prevention, educating yourself and employees on addiction along with the implementation of a health and wellness program could go a long way in preventing substance abuse and addiction in your workplace.