|Returning workers may bring new addictions |
As employees return to offices, they may bring new addictions with them, reports the Chicago Tribune. Some people have been able to hide alcohol and drug use precipitated by the isolation and stress of the past year while working from home, but companies may soon have to contend directly with substance abuse as workers return to physical workspaces. “Without question, the workforce that’s returning is not the same as the one that left,” said Paula Allen, global leader of research and total well-being at LifeWorks, a Chicago-based company which promotes services to help employers with worker health and well-being. “We have a lot of anxiety. We have a lot of people on edge. We are seeing more unhealthy behaviors, including more risky substance use,” she says. Tom Britton, president and CEO of the Gateway Foundation, an Illinois-based addiction treatment organization, says employers risk being unable to spot problems until they become disruptive, noting that many managers are not trained to identify substance abuse issues or may feel uncomfortable asking staff about such matters. “Somebody has to (do something) really, really significant, do something obvious, to get caught in the workplace,” Britton said.