Anyone who has woken up with a hangover from a night of drinking knows that the last thing they want to do that day is work. It may be enough to call in sick and spend the day recuperating. You’ll probably think twice the next time you consider drinking the night before a workday.
The ability to decide against drinking to avoid performing badly at work or missing a day is easy for most people. However, for an addict, it’s not that simple. The compulsion to drink or take drugs is so overwhelming that they may not think rationally.
When the addiction wins, the employee may force themselves to continue to work knowing their job is how they can continue to pay for their drugs and alcohol. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), over 70% of Americans struggling with a substance use disorder are employed. What this means is that addiction doesn’t impact only the addict, but the companies that employ them. Here’s how addiction affects the workplace:
Higher Risk of Injuries
Different drugs have different effects. Depressants, including alcohol, will slow your ability to respond and affect your coordination. Hallucinogens may distort your sense of reality, while stimulants may make you overly confident and even paranoid. Whether it’s a stimulant, depressant, or a hallucinogen, it will affect the way you feel and think, changing the way you behave and function. It also increases your risk of injury in the workplace, particularly if your job requires the operation of heavy machinery and equipment.
Employee Morale and Company Culture
When employees with substance use disorders are unpredictable at work and are frequently absent or unproductive, the other workers may feel unmotivated and even resentful. Substance abuse doesn’t just increase the risk of physical injury, but it also causes emotional injury.
Employees need to trust their employers to keep the work environment safe and protected. When coworkers with an addiction problem behave erratically, others will feel at risk and unsafe. Employee morale and company culture will suffer as a toxic workplace will affect everyone, including high-performing employees.
High Costs of Absenteeism and Loss of Productivity
Alcohol- and drug-related absenteeism costs companies billions of dollars each year. According to the National Safety Council, the average worker misses approximately 10-11 days each year due to injury or illness. Someone with substance use disorder misses almost 50% more days than their coworkers who don’t have an addiction. Employees who are addicted to prescription medication have been identified to miss the greatest number of workdays – almost six weeks a year.
Each year, companies spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the impacts of substance abuse. However, these numbers only relate to money lost to increased absenteeism, decrease in productivity, high turnover rates, costs of retraining, and so on. They don’t include the emotional damage or pain and suffering of other workers and how it also affects their productivity.
Here’s an interesting statistic: Employees who are in recovery and have been sober during the last 12 months miss the fewest days at work – including the typical worker who has never had a substance use disorder.
If you want to learn more about recovery, give us a call at (619) 630-7844. We work with our clients to find the best addiction treatment resources that match each individual’s needs.