Last updated: October 2, 2023
When employees use drugs at work, it has a negative impact on the company—especially if there’s an accident that leaves someone severely injured or worse. Employers drug test their employees for safety’s sake. In fact, workplace safety is the number one response given when asked why a company drug tests its employees. It’s a proven fact that companies that operate drug-free workplaces report fewer accidents.
Still, fewer missed days and employees showing up for work on time are pretty big perks though.
You want your company to hum like a well-oiled machine. If employees randomly call in absent or routinely show up for work late, it throws a wrench in the works. When someone has to cover on the spot, it interrupts the normal flow of things. Moreover, if someone is repeatedly asked to take on a heavier workload to stand in for someone, it could allow a sense of resentment to fester and grow. Eventually, it can affect your entire work culture which in turn can have an influence on productivity as a whole.
Workplace culture breakdown
When an employee with a substance abuse problem is calling in absent to work a lot or is always running late —even a few minutes—it affects their workmates. Even if other employees step up and cover their co-worker’s tasks for them, they can begin to feel taken advantage of after a time. If that happens, odds are some are going to grumble about it in the breakroom or at the bar during the after-hours get-together.
A spirit of negativity can grow and spread to others in the workplace. Before you know it, company morale can sink which affects every aspect of the business. Productivity can drop because employees who aren’t feeling a positive vibe aren’t inclined to do their best work.
On the other hand, it’s possible that peer pressure can have a positive effect on employees who use drugs by discouraging that type of behavior. It causes the person to feel inhibited—and could be a catalyst for them to stop abusing drugs. Even to the point of confiding in someone that they need help with their substance abuse problem.
It’s interesting to note that studies show that occupations that are predominantly female show that all employees—male and female—are less likely to have substance abuse problems. That’s compared to employees in male-dominated occupations. However, drugs affect every occupation to some degree and employers who choose to drug test are telling the world they take a firm stand against abuse.
Does the job really have anything to do with it?
Research does prove that some jobs can contribute to higher rates of employee substance abuse. If someone is consistently bored, stressed out, or isolated from others for long periods of time, it can tempt them to make their situation more bearable by using drugs or drinking on the job.
Substance abuse has also been linked to a lack of job complexity, a lack of control over conditions at work, sexual harassment, verbal or physical aggression, and feeling disrespected.
The above lists are also reasons that people call in to work or are consistently running late. However, if someone is abusing drugs, being unable to maintain a normal work schedule—or any life activities for that matter—becomes more difficult. Feeling strung out or hung over after partying all night may be all it takes to turn off the alarm and snooze into the day.
Drug-free workplaces benefit the bottom dollar in more ways than one
Low rates of absenteeism and tardiness, productivity, and job performance all play important roles in the success of your company. Employees who use drugs take a negative toll on all of them.
Employers who drug test attract employees who don’t use drugs. That’s going to have an overall impact on your company as well. If you don’t operate a drug-free workplace, perhaps it’s time to consider it.
Studies show that after going drug-free some employers report:
- As much as a 91% decrease in absenteeism
- An 88% decrease in problems between employees and supervisors
- A 93% decrease in mistakes in work
- Accidents decreased by as much as 97%
Those are some impressive statistics. Perhaps it’s time to think about a company drug test. If you don’t know how to get started, a simple “drug testing near me” search will pop up companies that will completely take charge of your employee drug testing program. Some, like ours for instance, even create your drug testing policies and protocols tailored to meet your company’s specific needs.
Employee education and supervisor training are other options that many drug testing companies provide. When you bring the dangers of drug abuse and addiction to the forefront, it gives people the tools they need to make informed decisions. They may choose to never try drugs or alcohol at all. Good for them! The classes or informational handouts—however you choose to get the information out there—could also be the catalyst that pushes someone into seeking help for their substance abuse problem.
Absent doesn’t make them invisible
A person doesn’t just wake up and decide they are going to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many things play a part, such as examples set by parents or abusive relationships for instance. Overall though, when someone doesn’t have much of a feeling of self-worth, they’re going to start looking for something to mask the pain.
Once an addiction forms, the addict becomes more and more caught up in feeding it. If an employee is missing a lot of work, it might be time to investigate the cause. Being kept up all night by a family member who struggles with drug addiction is no fun. It can cause someone to miss a lot of work too. Taking the time to find out if there’s a problem that you can help them with can mean the world to someone no matter what they’re struggling with.
It gives them a bit of hope to hold onto—and a little hope can go a really long way.