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We’ve all seen those classic office-based dramas or comedies where a character pulls out a bottle of whiskey from a file cabinet after a bad day. It seems sophisticated and almost normal for this type of thing to occur on TV and film. However, these days drinking at work is viewed as a taboo and not something that should be encouraged.
We all lead busy, time-sensitive lives and many of us enjoy a glass of something when we get home after a long day chasing deadlines and dealing with clients. However, these days we may be more dependent on alcohol then we care to admit. And worryingly, many employees find themselves able to drink excessive amounts of alcohol and still function throughout the day. This kind of habit is incredibly dangerous, not just for their health but for the people around them, at work, at home and even on the road. Someone like you or me could sustain a serious bodily injury from DUI, which could completely turn our lives upside down.
So, how do you know if you have an employee with a drinking problem? Here we’ll highlight some of the warning signs you should look out for.
They drink to excess whenever given the opportunity
Office parties, team lunches, client meet-ups, business events… If there is alcohol being served at events like these then an employee with a drinking problem may drink to excessive levels when given the opportunity. Even if the event is formal and the alcohol is complimentary, they may drink to excess long after everyone else is done. Do work colleagues have to babysit them at these events? Or do they have to be escorted home? These are all warning signs you should be on the lookout for.
Odd disappearances and sick days
You may think that you’ll be able to spot an employee with an alcohol problem simply by looking up their sick days and excessive time off work. However, if they’re a functioning alcoholic then you may need to look a little closer. They may be able to hold their work/life together despite being dependent on alcohol, however, it could be shown in other ways. Such as disappearing after meetings, taking extra long lunch breaks (and smelling of alcohol), they may want to get to events or meetings early so they can hit the bar, and they may clock in late and leave early.
Are they excessively loud? Laughing loudly, or speaking to excessive volumes? They may not realize they’re doing it, but it could be a sign of excessive alcohol consumption.
They’re taking risks
If their role involves handling heavy machinery or using safety equipment they may be more inclined to take risks. Or make decisions that inadvertently put their lives and the lives of others in danger.
They ask for money
Are they asking their colleagues for money? Or asking you for an advance on their salary because they’re broke, again? If they’re having trouble with their finances, it could be a warning sign that their alcoholism is out of control.
If you think an employee has a drinking problem, speak with your supervisor or arrange an HR meeting with them to discuss their welfare. The HR department will help you structure this and get them the help they need.
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