Covid-19 Fallout: Recruiting and managing workers with potential addiction issues

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Despite stigma that may cause some individuals to perceive addicts and alcoholics as jobless, 75% of those struggling with substance use disorder were gainfully employed. It’s quite likely you will have temporary employees on your roster, or internal staff, who are misusing drugs and/or alcohol, especially now. Self-isolation from the quarantine has led to widespread  feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, all of which can exacerbate substance abuse. The proliferation of “quarantini” memes on social media are the tip of the iceberg, as statistics show alcohol sales have jumped over 2019 levels. And with more than 26 million Americans having lost their jobs in the last few weeks, many may be seeking employment through staffing firms and temporary work.

Which means staffing firms and buyer organizations be planning now to provide easier access to behavioral healthcare options. Workplaces can be hesitant to take action when addiction and alcoholism are noticed – in both permanent and temporary workers – because they are unsure how to address it. Staffing agency professionals can be key in supporting employers by providing resources and training to recognize signs of addiction. The longer an addiction goes untreated, it’s more likely that legal liability may incur. For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people with a substance use disorder are four times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents.

Key physical indicators of addiction to look out for may include falling asleep during work hours, having bloodshot eyes, or smelling like alcohol. Currently, many employees are working from home. Once shelter-in-place orders lift, many businesses will likely continue to have staff work remotely. While this poses a barrier in identifying such warning signs, there are some behaviors that may indicate abuse, such as:

  • Constant “emergencies” including tardiness and emergent patterns like calling out after payday.
  • A change in work quality, or projects being incomplete.
  • Mood or behavior changes, including avoidance of co-workers. This may occur in remote workers who don’t utilize video chat during online meetings, or avoid phone calls, relying on emails only. Read more here…

Origin: The Staffing Stream

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