Sobriety in the workplace should be a given, but unfortunately there are people who come to work under the influence of drugs and alcohol, either because they are bad decision makers or because they have a legitimate problem. Drugs and alcohol in the workplace create disastrous situations for all employees, and it is very important to keep drugs and alcohol out and let sobriety into the workplace. There are several measures one can take to keep the workplace sober:
- Keep an eye out for the presence of drugs and alcohol. You would be amazed how often these things go undetected. Any employee bringing drugs or alcohol into the workplace will not want to be caught and will be going out of their way to conceal what they brought with them. Detecting employees who are under the influence involves watching for poor coordination, listening for slurred words and keeping an eye out for erratic behavior.
- It is very important that employees do not try to protect their substance abusing coworkers by keeping it a secret that they are under the influence at work. Their substance abuse could prove dangerous to themselves or to other employees, and the consequences can be disastrous if the problem is not eradicated upon discovery. If you discover drugs or alcohol at your workplace, or that a coworker is using on the job, tell your supervisor immediately. It could save lives.
- It is important that communication about drugs and alcohol is very clear within the workplace. If you are a supervisor, make sure that your workplace promotes sobriety by including a policy about the strict absence of drugs and alcohol. To enforce this policy, signs and flyers in break rooms enhance the communication.
- Lastly, every employer should make resources available to their employees guiding them to quality addiction and substance abuse treatment. Addiction and substance abuse strike every demographic without regard for gender, race, class or economics. Sometimes simply knowing where to turn for help can make all the difference to a person, especially when they want privacy. Always have somewhere to refer employees who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.