The Hangover: How Drug & Alcohol Abuse Affects the Workplace

be76d1a55ee5ffb3b2dc895570c95b36_LCriminal background checks and drug screenings are fairly standard with a new employment, but how often is drug use actually bleeding into an employee’s performance? The presence of drugs and alcohol in the workplace doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem on work premises as it does on the cost to an employer when an employee shows up already impaired or recovering from a night of heavy use. Drugs (both illegal and prescription) and alcohol take the hardest toll in the following categories:

Employee Productivity

Employees who show up to work after a night of heavy drinking and/or drug use are more likely to make mistakes, which takes time and money away from their employers, especially if employees show up late to work. A clear-headed individual can get a job done a lot more efficiently than someone who mental and physical faculties are dragging.

Workplace Morale

Happy employees generally produce better results. In contrast, an employee who is in a bad mood because he or she is affected by a hangover could infect the general demeanor of the entire workplace, creating a negative ripple effect into the productivity of employees who came to work well-rested and prepared to do their jobs.

General Safety

When employees are impaired, they may neglect safety protocols, and even small omissions could lead to major accidents.

Drug & Alcohol Use in the Workplace

Anyone who has experienced a hangover knows that a little “hair of the dog” can alleviate the physical pain of withdrawing from substance abuse. When employees show up to work impaired, whether they are recovering from a wild night or are under the influence on work premises, they are more likely to participate in drinking and/or drug use while they are still on the clock. A coworker with a bottle of booze stashed in a desk drawer for such an occasion is much more common that one might expect.

Most companies have a drug and alcohol use policy to avoid the aforementioned situations, but anyone who chooses to get loaded is susceptible to compromised performance, not just individuals who suffer from addiction or habitual substance abuse. Employment drug and alcohol screenings simply help reduce the presence of the latter in the workplace.

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