5 Steps for Dealing with Addiction in Your Office

Addiction in the workplace can lead to a variety of problems, including decreased productivity, missed deadlines, absenteeism, and increased occurrence of errors. Having an employee with an addiction can also increase tension and disagreements among your office staff members.

What Are the Signs of Addiction in the Workplace?

Signs of addiction are not always obvious. Although employees sometimes show up for work smelling of alcohol or exhibiting overt addictive behaviors, the signs are typically more subtle. For this reason, you should pay careful attention to behavioral changes such as:

– Increased absenteeism

– Decreased work production or quality

– Drowsiness or focusing difficulties

– Withdrawal from co-workers

– Sloppy appearance or poor physical hygiene

– Frequent mood changes, irritability

Signs and symptoms are different in every situation. Depending on the severity of the addiction, an addicted office employee may be skilled at hiding symptoms.

How Do You Deal with Addiction in the Office?

1) Observe for Signs

Carefully document the observance of signs of possible addiction. If the employee misses a meeting, submits low-quality work, or calls in sick several times within a short period, document the time, date, and nature of the behaviors you observe. Documentation is essential for having a productive discussion when you meet with the employee.

2) Don’t Blame Based on Gossip

Be careful about soliciting information from other employees in your office. This can create interpersonal problems between the addicted worker and your other employees. It might also violate workplace privacy policies. It is possible, though, that an employee might come to you with a complaint about the worker’s behavior. Document the nature of the complaint and ask the employee not to discuss the behavior with others in the office.

3) Conduct a Private Meeting with the Problem Employee

Stick to documented facts and express concern for the employee’s well being. You should also demonstrate how the person’s behavior has compromised production, office morale, and other aspects of your workplace.

4) Let the Employe Know about Assistance Options

Many corporations offer employee assistance programs and other resources to help employees who are struggling with addiction. The health experts at DelrayRecoveryCenter.com encourage those struggling with addiction to get help from a trusted addiction recovery center if the drug problem is serious.

5) Take Necessary Action

Document the main points covered in your meeting, including the employee’s responses and consequences that will result if the employee’s behavior continues. Have the employee read and sign the documentation. Give the employee a copy and place another copy in the employee’s file. If the problem is serious, take necessary action and fire the employee.

Workplace addiction can be a sensitive issue and must be handled carefully. Properly addressing an employee’s addictive behaviors can allow the worker to obtain help while reducing the risk of future office disruptions.

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