Coping With Addiction In The Workplace

Addiction may be a subject that many shy away from, but there are no ‘dirty’ subjects in safety. If something has the potential to cause harm then it is an issue that needs to be faced head on, albeit with suitable delicacy.

The following post is guest written by Eva Benoit, and details useful strategies for coping with addiction in the workplace.

Why is addiction in the workplace an issue?

The pressures of work can build up, especially if you are an executive or professional. Many CEO’s or top-level white-collar workers seek out ways to relieve the stress and tension of their successful careers. If you have found yourself turning to alcohol or other substances to subdue your own work stress, you may be wondering if it’s time to get help. You may also be concerned about the impact of recovery on your busy career. To answer your questions, here are a few pieces of information you should keep in mind.

addiction in the workplace can be caused by stress

Know When It’s Time for Help

When you’re stressed and finding ways to cope, it can be tough to figure out when your mechanisms go from recreational to full on addiction. It’s important to be aware of the signs that you may be addicted and get help as soon as you see them in yourself. Sudden changes in your mood or sleeping habits could be an indication of addiction, as well as negative feelings of withdrawal when you are not using. If you feel out of control or feel like you cannot function without using drugs or alcohol, then it’s definitely time to start thinking about treatment options that can help you get clean.

Find a Program That Works for You

Typically, the best treatment for addiction is an inpatient recovery program. If you’re a busy professional, however, these traditional treatment programs may not work for your schedule and your career. You need a program that you can enter into while still maintaining a presence at work, but you also need a high level of discretion. Luckily, there are some great options for working professionals to seek treatment for addiction without disrupting their careers. Many of these centers cater to CEOs and executives and offer accommodations that can make getting treatment less stressful.

Check in With HR About Benefits

If you need to take time off or use insurance benefits, it’s a good idea to check in with an HR rep. Addiction in the workplace is covered under FMLA and other regulations, so you don’t necessarily need to go into detail, if it’s better for your business reputation. Typically, however, any frank discussion you have with HR must be kept confidential. Ask your HR rep about taking time off and maintaining benefits and whether your treatment will be covered by your insurance. There may even be some form of employee assistance they can offer you to make the transition into treatment even smoother.

HR and addiction in the workplace

Consider Pausing Client Interactions

If addiction has you looking and feeling off, it may be a safe bet to take a break from face-to-face client interactions. Addiction in the workplace and addiction recovery can be stressful, so avoid interactions where you know you will encounter additional stress. Oftentimes, client meetings also involve alcohol, which can be a huge trigger for relapse for someone just entering into addiction treatment. If you can take time off or push meetings back, that’s your best option. But if you simply cannot postpone your meetings, think about conducting them via phone.

Look Into Telecommuting

Focus is essential for a successful recovery but it’s hard to focus on your treatment when you’re still in the office every day. Take your treatment seriously and if you can’t take off work, think about telecommuting. Many companies and organizations are recognizing the benefits of offering flexible work schedules and this kind of arrangement could work out for you if you are in a rehabilitation program. With telecommuting, you can stay on top of emails, take calls and participate in meetings no matter where you are.

addiction in the workplace and working from home

What next?

Dealing with addiction without derailing your career can be tricky, especially for executives and professionals. Your reputation and success can be at stake, so it’s important to find options that are flexible, discreet and, most importantly, highly effective in treating your addiction.

If you need help with the health and wellbeing of your employees, or you are concerned about issues relating to stress, anxiety, or addiction, please do contact us.

You can find out more about the author, Eva Benoit, here.