How To Address Addiction In The Workplace

How To Address Addiction In The Workplace

If you suspect one of your co-workers may be falling prey to addiction, your first thoughts will probably be, this isn’t my business. And you’ll attempt to stay out of it. However, having a possible addict in the workplace will not only infect his professional and personal life but the dynamics of the working environment as well. Employees are supposed to work at peak performance and harmoniously to boost their organization’s profits. So here’s what you need to do to identify or deal with a fellow employee who might be substance abusing.


Chances are you’re familiar with the ins and outs of addiction but if you still aren’t up to speed then this is the time to do your research. There’s so much information available online that will tell you the symptoms to watch out for, from behaviors to emotions and physical appearances. You should also check for the best treatment options available in your region. For example, if you live in Melbourne, then check out . The employee will also need to be checked for mental disorders because these tend to correlate highly with addictions.


You’ve learned the ins and outs so your next step is to observe. Has your co-worker been arriving later than usual and also leaving earlier? How many unexpected leave absences has he been taking recently? What about physical differences- do you notice slurred speech or red eyes? Alcohol and drugs can leave a distinct smell on a person so have you noticed any strong smells on his person? Also, consider if he’s been paying less attention to his appearance.


Work gossip tends to spread around like wildfire. If you’re concerned as a superior, then your best bet would be to talk to the other employees and find out what exactly they might be saying about him, as well as his performance. His co-workers might know of any history of substance abuse or domestic problems going out that could have led to possible addiction. The only thing to watch out for here is false claims- you’ll have to vigilantly sort through to find legitimate information before you take the next step.


Finally, you can attempt to talk to your co-worker yourself. The chances of this working depend on how well you know him. You should be able to identify any subtle changes in the way he talks or acts. Of course you can’t outright ask him about it. Instead opt for subtle questions like how he’s doing and more about what’s going on in his life. If you sense that he’s hesitant to talk to you then there’s probably something there to be discovered. You can use this conversation to build up trust to have further conversations in the future where he will hopefully open up to you. Eventually you’ll be in a position where you or your superior can give him the solutions he needs to stay on at the company.

Having an addict in the workplace can severely affect the dynamics so if there’s one in your midst that you know to be a hard worker then don’t waste time in getting him the help he needs. There are plenty of treatment options that help clients maintain their business lives while going through the rehabilitation processes.