Identifying Employees Who Bring the 'Holiday Cheer' to Work

The holiday season brings about more chances that employees may be intoxicated at work. Knowing the indicators of substance abuse is the first step to dealing with the issues.

As the holiday season approaches so do parties and other reasons for intoxication. Whether through alcohol, or illicit/prescription drugs, business owners stand a good chance of encountering an intoxicated employee.

Now is a good time to review your business’s policies on how to deal with such a situation. Isolated incidents, or long term abuse issues, demand attention and as a business owner or supervisor you should be ready to handle the situation with professionalism and compassion. Being prepared will make the situation easier to deal with if it should occur.

Any changes in the employee’s behavior should be noted. Productivity issues and physical signs are also clues to possible substance abuse. Combinations of any of these categories should be red flags.

For productivity issues, watch for higher rates or absenteeism; out of character missed deadlines; generally lower productivity. Behavioral issues would include mood swings, loss of interest in tasks, deterioration of co-worker relationships, increase in disciplinary issues, and paranoia. Some physical indicators to watch for are bloodshot or watery eyes, runny or irritated nose, slurred speech, change in speech patterns, and poor coordination.

Of course any one of these indicators may not be a sign of trouble and you have to know the person’s baseline character and physical attributes before you apply any judgment. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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