When Alcohol Abuse Becomes a Problem at Work

Posted on November 14th, 2012
Posted in Alcoholism

business woman drinks alcohol at workOne of the first rules of professionalism is that we leave personal problems at home. In theory this is good practice. Business requires that people in the workplace share a common focus and pull together toward business-related goals. However, in practical experience the truth is that we are not really able to fully disassociate our physical/mental/emotional beings from one another when we take a seat behind our desks.

Ask most Human Resource department heads and they will likely tell you that alcohol abuse is a personal problem which manifests itself at work and eventually causes enough disruption that it must be confronted.

Fair or not, addiction and substance abuse impacts everyone around the person concerned – including co-workers. A British report on the subject of alcohol abuse in the workplace recently said that alcohol dependency is a problem for nearly one quarter of all workers around the globe. That figure encompasses skilled and unskilled workers, management and hourly employees.

Alcohol abuse is non-discriminating; it affects men and women at every educational, social and financial level. According to the report, the problem of alcohol abuse winds up costing the British economy more than £6billion.

Here at home, the problem is very much the same. The question is what to do about it. Since addiction programs are successful in treating the problem, the best course of action is to create an office environment where workers feel safe in stepping forward and admitting their struggle.

Of course, co-workers will likely recognize a problem long before the person is willing to confess one. Therefore, Human Resource departments interested in retaining workers caught in alcohol abuse should develop a safe and appropriate way for fellow employees to report concerns.

Alcohol abuse is not a personal problem insofar as it affects the work environment and even the bottom line. It is the right personal and business decision to stop ignoring alcohol abuse and instead to offer a path out of dependency.

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