With over 16 million people living with alcoholism in the US, you are likely to encounter a coworker suffering from alcohol addiction at some point. While many alcoholics function very well in their careers, some have difficulties that may need to be addressed. In the event that you find yourself working with an alcoholic, you may be concerned with the added complications that alcoholism entails. Handling these concerns in a proactive manner will ensure a positive outcome for all involved.
Alcoholism affects the addict in many ways. Relationships, homes, and careers often struggle as a result of addiction. While this should not discourage confidence in any one employee, it is important to understand the potential risks:
- Alcoholism causes health issues in the user, which may lead to more instances of call-ins or late arrivals. Attendance is the number one cause for dismissal in the workplace.
- Outbursts and other unprofessional behavior can occur due to alcohol dependence.
- Hangovers and preoccupation can cause the coworker to experience fatigue and loss of focus.
- Studies have shown that alcoholics in the workplace are 2.7 times more likely to become injured on the job. Nearly 25% of workplace injuries are alcohol-related.
- 11% of workforce deaths involve alcohol.
Monitoring behaviors and performance is standard in the workplace. A known addiction may prompt a more thorough assessment to prevent complications in the future. In the event that alcoholism becomes a concern in the workplace, it is important to deal with issues quickly.
How Coworkers Can Help
Offer words of encouragement and support, but be mindful of your own work. If a coworker’s addiction is affecting your performance, it is important to take action. Refrain from complaining to other coworkers about the issue, and never approach your coworker about his or her addiction. Unnecessary conflict in the workplace can backfire, placing more strain on the work flow and overall morale. Always communicate issues regarding safety or performance to your supervisor.
In the event that performance becomes a problem, the supervisor must decide how to proceed. Companies should have policies and procedures in place properly handle infractions. Alcoholism may cause more problems in the workplace, however, it is important to handle each case with the same care. Holding all employees to the same standard of performance is crucial, as is clearly defining expectations.
You may feel conflicted in dealing with alcoholism in the workplace, or want to help the employee find relief from his or her addiction. Offering resources on behalf of the company may prove beneficial, and encourage healthy morale.
If You’re Struggling
It is important to understand your responsibilities in the workplace. If you suffer from alcoholism, you may have already experienced the implications of addiction. If you’ve received warnings for preventable mistakes, or alcohol addiction is interfering with your ability to function, you may worry that your job is in jeopardy. Seeking help for alcoholism can greatly improve many aspects of your life, including functionality in the workplace. Finding relief may be easier than you think.
We Can Help
If alcoholism is causing problems in the workplace, consider your options. Contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net for advice on dealing with alcohol addiction in the workplace, and finding resources in your area. We’re here to help.