A report conducted by Versta Research on behalf of The Standard is reporting a sharp rise in addiction and/ or substance abuse during the course of the pandemic, with a substantial number (49%) reporting struggling with addiction:
According to Dr. Dan Jolivet, Workplace Possibilities practice consultant at The Standard: “The research not only reveals an alarming rate of alcohol and other substance abuse among workers across a variety of industries and generations, but also paves the way for employers to open the conversation with employees about these issues. In this way, companies can empower workers to seek the help and support they need. When an employee is living with a substance-use issue, oftentimes a job is something positive to hold onto, and one of the strongest sources of support and encouragement can come from an employer.”
In March, 2021, New York University School of Global Public Health survey of 5,850 people (including non-workers) who drink alcohol found that 29 percent have increased their drinking during the pandemic. Age mattered, with 40% of people under 40 reporting a rise in drinking, and 30% of people age 40-59 reporting the same, versus only 20% of those over 60 reporting an increase.
The sharp rise in long-term unemployment may be a factor, as well. According to a study by Connie Wanberg, Associate Dean at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, people tend to experience a steady improvement in their sense of well-being in the period just after losing their jobs. If, however, they have not found a job after 10 to 12 weeks, the trend tends to reverse, causing several issues, including depression. Then NYU study reported that those experiencing depression were 64 percent more likely to increase drinking, while those with anxiety were 41 percent more likely to do so.
The health and safety software firm, Protecting, surveyed 1,300 employees across the UK who were working from home; 93% reported drinking more alcohol during than prior to the pandemic. 83% said they drank while working from home at least twice per week.
Recruiters are reporting instances of candidates seeming to be under the influence in some fashion during interviews. On recruiters recently detailed an incident to RNN (with the request they remain anonymous) of opening a Zoom interview with a candidate just as he was taking a drink from a bottle of vodka. The recruiter added the candidate was removed from consideration at that point.
In a closed Facebook group for HR professionals, a recent discussion revolved around how to work with a new hire who was abusing alcohol: "We hired someone, his mother had a heart attack and passed away. He was expected to work, but never showed up. After no communication despite attempts made on 5/4 he emails stating that his mental health took a decline and he is suffering from anxiety and depression and also drinking a lot. What are our options? I have dealt with ppl drinking on the job and know the steps for tht[sic] but what can I do or offer in this situation."
It's become a topic among candidates on Reddit, as well:
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