top of page

Breaking Down Silos in Employee Recovery

How Recovery-Friendly Workplaces are Empowering Employees

A Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) uses evidence-based policies and practices to encourage a healthy, safe, and productive work environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by addiction.

The need for an effective workplace substance use program.


Addiction and mental health issues are increasingly prevalent in the workplace. With more than 70% of an estimated 22.4 million drug users and 80 %of 41.2 million binge drinkers in the U.S. are employed in industrial setup. But according to PEW research center, the effects are much more permeable in society, since nearly 1 in 2 are indirectly impacted from caring for a spouse, friend, or loved one having substance use disorders (SUD), if not themselves. This affects employees as well as employers where the costs to the workplace may be covert and can take the form of health care treatment costs, absenteeism, loss of productivity and safety, reduced job satisfaction and high turnover rates.
But despite these numbers, addiction in the workplace often goes unnoticed, as those struggling with SUD can be very good at hiding their disorder, owing to the prejudiced belief that addiction is a moral failing. Employers can be instrumental in this process of recovery, as a significant number of individuals with SUDs (25%) avoid seeking treatment due to concerns about negative consequences in the workplace.

 

A Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) uses evidence-based policies and practices to encourage a healthy, safe, and productive work environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by addiction.


Benefits of creating a recovery-friendly workplace


Substance use on the job has a far reaching impact on employee well-being causing low morale, poor decision making, fatigue, and reduced efficiency which in turn leads to reduced profitability and increased co-worker load. Research conducted by the independent, nonpartisan research institution NORC at the University of Chicago and the National Safety Council (NSC) concluded that RFWs help retain talented staff, improve productivity, and creates a positive work culture where employees feel valued and supported, leading to better business outcomes. The study also concluded that RFWs help with:

Lowered healthcare costs: For each employee who recovers from substance use disorder, the company that employs them saves an average of over $8,500 in insurance premiums and related costs. 
Reduced absenteeism: Compared to employees with an untreated SUD, employees in recovery miss 13.7 fewer days each year, and compared to an average employee, they miss 3.6 fewer days per year.


Strategies for creating a recovery-friendly workplace


Creating a recovery-friendly workplace involves creating an environment where employees feel supported and valued, and where resources for recovery are readily available. Some strategies include:
  • Training for managers and staff on addiction and mental health

  • Encouraging an open and non-judgmental work culture around addiction and mental health

  • Providing employee assistance programs (EAPs) and resources for addiction and mental health support

  • Offering flexible work arrangements and accommodations for employees in recovery

  • Arranging for on-site support such as employee resource groups, and peer support programs

  • Increasing access to addiction and mental health treatment resources by partnering with community organizations

These strategies can be implemented quickly and can have a significant impact on employees' lives and well-being.

Examples of successful recovery-friendly workplace initiatives


There are many successful recovery-friendly workplace initiatives that have been implemented by employers. Each of these programs demonstrates a commitment to supporting employees or students in recovery, providing resources and support, and promoting a culture of acceptance and support for those in recovery:
  • Walgreens' "We Care" program

  • American Airlines’ “PeerSupport” program

  • The Hartford's "Ability Beyond" program

  • Alkermes' "Alkermes Inspiration Grant"

  • Boston Medical Center's "Recovery@Work" program

  • The Ohio State University's "Buckeyes for Recovery" program

  • NH Governor’s Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW)

In conclusion, RFWs support their communities by recognizing recovery from SUD as a strength and by being willing to work intentionally with employees in recovery. A growing body of research suggests that a recovery-friendly workplace can be a win-win for both employees and employers, promoting employee health and well-being, while also improving business outcomes.
Get in touch with us to know more about our journey to becoming an RFW and how we can help you become one.

12 views0 comments
bottom of page