Happier & Healthier Employees – Top 10 Issues & Addictions of Employees

Written by: John Dicey | Last updated: 31 Mar 21

Reviewed by: Paul Baker

happy and healthy employees Top 10 Issues & Addictions Employees Want Help With

A healthier, happier, more contented workforce creates a more productive workplace environment and a great return on investment.

However, employees may choose to keep many issues and addictions hidden until they begin to seriously affect an employee’s work performance.

The preemptive help is often not covered by Employee Assistance Programmes. It is therefore useful to know what the issues and addictions are that employees really want help with.

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Happier & Healthier Employees

A healthier, happier, more contented workforce creates a more productive workplace environment and a great return on investment.

Most good employers genuinely care about their workforce and in most cases are completely unaware of issues and addictions that can compromise an employee’s work performance until the obvious signs begin to appear.

The human cost of a failure to provide early intervention support to help the employee is clear. A management team can feel huge regret and remorse that they could have helped more, sooner, had they seen the signs and the employee might have avoided the stigma, embarrassment, and indignity of having their issue laid bare for all to see.

Spotting the warning signs is important but so is providing a conspicuous easy to access support programme with which the employee may well engage sooner rather than later.

Whilst it doesn’t show up in any official statistics the fact that the employer can help an employee with their cocaine addiction, alcohol issue, or gambling problem without ever even being aware of it is a magnificent achievement. A proactive approach to treating addiction and behavioural issues before they impact on the workplace and bottom line is priceless.

A proactive, unobtrusive, anonymous, effective, and affordable health & wellbeing suite of online video programmes that can prevent problems escalating is key.

Read more about our Health & Wellbeing Pack for Corporates

The Top 10 Issues & Addictions Employees Want Help With

The order of the following list takes into account many factors. For example, although 24% of adults drink more than government guidelines suggest – many of them are quite happy doing so and have no inclination to stop or cut down – whereas only 10% of your workforce might smoke but at least 75% of smokers wish they could stop.

  1. Smoking & Vaping;

    Around 10% of your workforce smoke and 5% vape. Being addicted to anything isn’t fun and the stigma and embarrassment of being a smoker/vaper leads people to become secret smokers or bullish and brash overt smokers. Both tend to take more frequent, longer breaks from work, longer more frequent absences from work due to sickness, and tend to suffer from tiredness and lethargy. Smokers and vapers know this, and most are desperate to break free. They just sometimes need a little more help than a nicotine patch can offer.

  2. Alcohol;

    24% of adults drink more alcohol than government guidelines suggest but regardless of whether someone feels they just drink a little too much a little too often – or whether they consider themselves to be a functioning alcoholic – it can be a terrifying prospect to reach out to someone for help. In either event their situation gets worse and worse until their poor timekeeping, tiredness, poor decision-making, and perhaps even intemperate behaviour gets noticed. It’s so much nicer when someone feels they automatically have access to the kind of help that will set them free from their alcohol issue – something that encourages them to address the issue sooner rather than later and avoid the indignity of someone at work noticing.

  3. Stress & Anxiety (Mindfulness);

    A recent survey (pre-covid) indicated that 74% of people felt “overwhelmed or unable to cope” at some point in previous year. Stress is a silent killer and is often considered something that “goes with the territory” of working life. Understanding how to better cope with stress, how to alleviate it and avoid it, can be extremely liberating – not to mention a major factor in improving physical and mental health & wellbeing.

  4. Weight Loss, Sugar Addiction, & Emotional Eating;

    The majority of adults in the UK are overweight or obese (68%). There is no shortage of programmes to choose from, but most treat the symptoms (the obesity) rather than the cause. In many cases it can be a simple addiction to processed carbohydrates and refined sugar in others it can be a link between eating and emotions (27% of adults say they eat to manage stress and emotions). Losing or controlling weight, escaping from emotional eating, and feeling physically & mentally stronger and healthier provides an incredible boost – something that is mirrored in every aspect of the employee’s working life.

  5. Tech/Smart Phone/Social Media Addiction;

    75% of people admit that they are lost without their smart phone. It’s not surprising given that they use if for work, social, relaxation, and practical reasons…everything from checking the train is running to seeing what the weather forecast is. Whether it’s smart phone use, tablet, or other tech – it’s important not to “ditch” tech – but harness it. Retaining appropriate use and jettisoning inappropriate use is key to a better relationship with tech that will lead to less stress, better work performance, better quality relaxation, better relationships and a lot more positive outcomes besides.

  6. Cannabis/Cocaine;

    10% of adults admit to taking illicit drugs each year – no doubt this is the tip of the iceberg with many more being unwilling to admit it. Drug use outside work can lead to a host of issues related to performance at work with drug use whilst at work adding a whole lot more. Most people who realise they have a problem with drugs are desperate for help, having a world-leading, proven, easy to access programme signposted by an employer can encourage early treatment before the problem even becomes noticed in the workplace.

  7. Caffeine;

    Almost 90% of adults consume caffeine in some form. Very few of them have an issue with it – but for those who do – it can be a real problem. Being hooked on a stimulant can cause mood swings, extreme fatigue, anxiety, stress, and heart issues. It’s easy to see how work can be affected when an employee suffers with a caffeine problem. Getting rid of it can feel liberating as well as leading to a massive improvement in health, wellbeing, and work performance.

  8. Debt;

    16% of adults are unable to pay off household bills or debts. It’s hard to have a spring in your step when you’re suffering under the burden of debt. The gloom and doom of living payday to payday and fighting a seemingly losing battle to keep your head above water can impact negatively on every aspect of your life. Stress, alcohol, drugs, gambling, emotional eating can all become symptoms of, as well as causes of, debt. It’s an embarrassing problem and access to a programme that provides practical advice as well as behavioural advice can lead to someone to enjoy a wonderful sense of freedom that has a positive impact of every aspect of their lives – including work.

  9. Gambling;

    47% of adults gamble – most do so very occasionally without it impacting negatively on their lives in any way. However, for those who do develop a gambling problem – it can be damaging in many ways – causing debt, stress, self-esteem issues, and increased alcohol consumption. There is little help available so access to a proven programme that guides the problem gambler away from the issue, signposted by a wellbeing programme, can encourage an early intervention before the negative aspects of the addiction impact on work performance.

  10. Fear of Flying;

    25% of adults are uneasy about flying. Most overcome their fear in return for the advantages of travel – far flung holidays, trips to visit family abroad, or opportunities in business – but for some – even those benefits won’t help them get onto a plane. Fear of flying isn’t a particularly terrible affliction but being set free from it can be hugely liberating. Even for someone who is merely a little uncomfortable when flying – it can be life affirming to escape from that fear.

A health and wellbeing programme which keeps the employees anonymous and is reassuringly delivered by a global leader in the field of addiction, behaviour change, and wellbeing issues can set free, and realise the true potential of your workforce.

Read more about our Health & Wellbeing Pack for Corporates

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