Employees – especially parents – have trouble completing tasks, often call in sick
Many Canadians continue to turn to bad habits amid the pandemic.
A little over a third (34 per cent) of those who use alcohol report an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic, and 25 per cent of those who use other drugs report an increase in their drug use, according to LifeWorks. Parents are twice as likely as non-parents to report an increase in drug use.
Impact on work
One in five indicate that alcohol or drugs have made it difficult to complete job-related tasks and responsibilities. And people who use medications more than prescribed are more than seven times likely to report difficulty completing job-related tasks and responsibilities at least once per week, found the survey of 3,000 respondents in Canada conducted in April and May.
A further 14 per cent miss work or call in sick at least once per week due to alcohol or drug use, found the latest Mental Health Index. And people missing work due to substance use have significantly lower mental health scores than those who do not miss work.
And parents who report using drugs or alcohol are nearly four times as likely as non-parents to report calling in sick or being unable to go to work because of alcohol or drug use.
There are several ways that problematic substance use may cause issues at work, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety:
- any impact on a person’s judgment, alertness, perception, motor coordination or emotional state that also impacts working safely or safety-sensitive decisions
- after-effects of substance use (hangover, withdrawal) affecting job performance
- absenteeism, illness or reduced productivity
- preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration
- illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees,
- psychological or stress-related effects due to substance use by a family member, friend or co-worker that affects another person's job performance.
An equal number of respondents reported that their employer does (27 per cent) or does not (27 per cent) provide resources to help workers who are experiencing challenges related to substance use, found LifeWorks.
Also concerning: Forty per cent per cent reported that they either do not know if their employer offers resources or are not sure what resources are available.
People with lower self-perceived mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic are more likely to increase their use of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco, according to a Statistics Canada report released in 2020.