4 Ways To Help An Employee Facing Addiction Problems

General Article

Substance addiction is an issue that can affect anyone. There’s no proven trend or signs that can conclusively prove that someone will suffer from this disease. That being said, it is also fair to assume that as a business owner (or just as a regular person) there’s a chance that at some point you might have to deal with addiction in your workplace or your life. Not because of the type of business or the people you employ, but simply because just as diabetes, addiction can strike anyone.

Here are 4 ways in which you can learn to better handle a situation with an addicted employee without affecting your business performance or compromising your employee’s well being.

Ask the right questions

It might be hard for you to tell whether an employee is on the verge of abusing a substance or alcohol or if he or she is already addicted to any sort of substance.


The best way for you to deal with addiction at the workplace would be to do everything you can to avoid it in the first place. By asking the right questions you will filter out all potentially risky behaviors or signs that could indicate something might be wrong with the candidate.


Of course, there’s no perfect set of questions or check marks to tick off, but you might be better off knowing where to look at or what signs to look for first.

Look for the signs

There are quite a few signs to look for if you suspect someone might be struggling with substance addiction in the workplace. If by any chance the interview didn’t filter out a possible addict, or if an employee has developed an addiction over time without you or anybody else noticing, keeping an eye on these signs might start giving you a clue.


Typical signs that can show something’s not right in an employee’s life can include always being late, being  irritable, having difficulties with simple tasks or struggling to concentrate, all paired with a sudden change from a well behaved and productive employee These attitudes combined with a poorly kept appearance, bad moods and a noticeable decrease in their performance and hygiene usually can give you an indication that you’re dealing with an employee that’s more than just stressed out and it might be time for you to consider taking a more serious approach in order to help them.


Health promotion & prevention of psychological issues

It will be hard to know exactly why an employee might be struggling with addiction, but one thing is certain, you can make the work environment a better place for them. Encourage a healthy lifestyle with talks, meetings, events, and activities while diminishing the risk of psychological issues that might actually push anyone in the wrong direction.


We all deal with a fair amount of stress at work every day, but it is entirely up to you to help promote healthy activities for your employees to vent, these activities can include meditation, small exercise classes before or after work, a therapist or even massages twice a month.

Evaluate the situation and offer help if possible

An employee that’s dealing with addiction might not be the first in line to discuss and talk about personal matters or what’s wrong in their life. Chances are slim that they will be willing to accept and open up about their substance abuse to a colleague or their boss.


With the assistance of your HR department you can assess the situation and with tact,  respect and professionalism take a supportive approach in order to give the employee confidence and the trust they might be lacking at this stage.


Some companies develop partnerships or include rehabilitation programs where after a certain point they become active parts of their employee’s recovery process. Learn and find out which rehab centers would result helpful for both you and the employee.


It might not always work out to be the best deal for everybody, but if you’re completely sure that someone at work is an addict, strict measures have to be taken. Otherwise, not only their performance and health will be compromised, but it might also affect the work-environment, other employees’ performances and ultimately the company’s overall performance.


If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction it is always important to do your own research, offer support, and help whenever necessary while also getting in touch with professionals who can manage the situation and work on the patient for a future recovery.


Have you ever had to deal with addiction at work? If you know any other tips on how to handle the situation let us know by leaving a comment below.