Recovery Friendly Corporate Culture

Posted on: August 28th, 2019
Office drinking party

What is a ‘drinking culture’?

A ‘drinking culture’ is a way of participating in alcohol consumption, that is developed through the creation of norms and traditions that we establish as we consume alcoholic beverages for social and recreational purposes. We have been taught these social norms and traditions from a very early age. As children we watch adults drink at children’s birthday parties or religious milestones. We learn that sneaking drinks in high school is cool, and perhaps experience peer pressure to join in. In college or university we learn that heavy drinking is almost a right-of-passage. By the time we get into our first corporate job, we are quite aware that heavy drinking is frequently a part of our social environment and can inform our ability to fit in successfully. Often the ‘Friday night indulgence’ is a way to break the ice with colleagues, or business dinners are places to bond over heavy drinking. It can cross our mind that some of these expectations can be unhealthy, for those around us—or potentially even for ourselves, but it is easy to shrug off because it is so widely acceptable. 

All of these elements come together to create and endorse a ‘drinking culture’, normalizing heavy drinking as a part of the corporate experience.

The questions becomes: Who are we leaving out in this culture of alcohol—or more importantly—who are we harming? Or, more to the point: How can we be more inclusive and health positive in the development of our corporate culture?

Thankfully, within corporate culture, there have been many excellent shifts that lay the groundwork for a shift away from ‘drinking culture.’ For example, there are many companies that have begun to encourage healthy social norms regarding cultural and family diversity—there has been a huge shift towards tolerance and acceptance in the workplace when it comes to diversity, and many training programs and incentives that help this shift along. Coinciding with these efforts are the efforts of many health insurance companies who encourage corporations to focus on and create health, fitness and nutritional incentives, as well as smoking cessation incentives within the corporate community. Currently, these types of incentives are considered a norm and can regularly be within the corporate environment.

Much can be drawn from in the examples above—we have come a long way in terms of normalizing healthy corporate culture.

It is not a difficult transition to adjust ideas of ‘drinking culture’ to something healthy and positive.

It can be done.

Some history:

The establishment of substance use disorder protocol has taken an interesting path in the workplace.

There was a time when all new employees were drug tested, in the hope of assuring a drug and alcohol free workplace. At one point, EAP’s (Employee Assistance Programs) were put in place, but because of their cumbersome financial realities, many were quickly cut back along with economic downturns or any given financial struggles of an organization. In the wake of the EAP’s, many organizations have developed a drug-free or zero-tolerance work place, with policies created with good intent, but ineffective for personnel with chronic issues or substance use disorders or any other kind of addictive behaviors. The difficulty with this shift to the zero tolerance workplace is that instead of receiving much needed care, a person with substance use challenges experience job loss as opposed to any transformative therapeutic experience.

Due to the increase in stressful lifestyles—an unfortunate symptom of our time—it is more complicated to be an employer than ever,  in terms of the maintenance of health and wellbeing for employees. It does not help matters that recreational drug use is becoming legalized norm, or that doctors regularly prescribe extremely addictive Opiods and Benzodiazephines without much regard for the long term issues that can come with such prescribing. It can often seem that efforts to have healthy corporate culture rooted in staff satisfaction and increased productivity and wellness are frequently sabotaged by these outside influences and by a lack of resources.

We know it can be frustrating to be a positive force in the effort to mobilize this issue.

So, the question becomes: how can we move from the current norm and into an effective plan to address substance abuse within the workplace? How can we as a company be of help, while at the same time improve corporate culture?

Life stressors and chronic illness often exhibit themselves in various job performance issues.

They can be assessed with appropriate and persistent screening. When such screening is put in place, employers have the opportunity to identify a mounting problem, rather than waiting until someone’s job is in jeopardy or resulting workplace issues compound into legalities or difficulties for the staff or the company.

Here at Urban Recovery, we suggest that the implementation of a behavioral health assessment within your company, or a referral system that connects experts who can successfully create an individual or family plan to support positive behavioral health changes, is at the forefront of a new model of care when it comes to substance abuse challenges. If a mindful partnership exists between a workplace and behavioral health experts, and the channel is fluid and simple—everyone benefits.

A corporate culture which supports the wellbeing and productivity for those experiencing substance abuse difficulties is more than possible. From workplace incentives that contribute to  the development of a healthy norm, to the implementation of individual/family plans to address such issues— there are tangible ways to successfully address substance use disorders and create a positive workplace environment—an environment where there is ample opportunity to upgrade and modify job performance, as well as help the overall wellness of every individual.

In this day and age, it is prudent to consider the inclusion of healthcare screening and wellness models that include behavioral health. There is an abundance of personnel who can assist corporations with staff experiencing behavioral health issues in the workplace. Interventionists, therapists and psychologists are all well versed in behavioural health and substance abuse disorders and can be an excellent resource. There are many inpatient and outpatient treatment centers for a variety of substance abuse issues, as well as an entire continuum of companions, coaches, case managers and sober living spaces willing to assist corporate personnel. It is much easier to implement a referral process that is impactful and ranges throughout a variety of care models in this day and age, where there is a large arsenal of professionals dedicated to substance use disorders. It only requires a good connection to such professionals to get the ball rolling.

Here at Urban Recovery, we believe that we possess the tools and connections to achieve this.

At Urban Recovery, we have developed a screening tool that can easily adapt to your company to perhaps assist your executives or HR team with monitoring and identifying personnel struggling at work or in their personal life:

It is in the implementation of tools such as this, along with professional, around the clock coverage that we believe we can make a difference in your company. Here at Urban Recovery, if you need to talk to our team about an employee, corporate issues, or the possibility of expanding your corporate strategic plan to include behavioral health norms in your day-to-day culture or social event planning, we are on the other end of the phone 24/7.

We have the tools that can help.

Today is a good day to start looking at the behavioral health and social norms of your corporation.

Many new and exciting approaches to corporate culture can be implemented that go a far distance to creating healthy employees and an enjoyable and productive workplace. There is a solution.

We are happy to book a one on one executive training or a corporate presentation in your workplace, so feel free to reach out. All you have to do is call Urban Recovery today at 646-960-6656 or contact CEO Denise Bertin-Epp [email protected] if you would like to have a conversation about how your workplace can be more recovery friendly. It will most certainly be a life changing call—a chance to breathe new life into the culture of your workplace, and help individuals find new opportunity and wellbeing.

Break away from ‘drinking culture’ in your business today and give us a call.

We are happy to help.

Related article: New Hampshire pushes employers to be “recovery-friendly”

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