The impacts of gambling addiction in the workplace for companies and HR managers in the work place are extensive. Costing businesses both in lost time and productivity, whilst often unidentified, problem gambling is a significant work force issue. The negatives from problem gambling typically seep into all areas of individual’s lives. True for both problem gamblers themselves or those living with the stresses and issues resulting from another’s gambling problem. All affected are likely to be experiencing stress, anxiety, poor concentration and often very low moods. Tragically people sometimes experience suicidal thoughts or attempts as the escalating financial pressures and feelings of being out of control can make this feel like the only “way out” of a seemingly hopeless situation.
Technology has advanced and in line with this, gambling and gambling related activities are often happening during work hours. Primarily this is because of the endless opportunities provided by smart phones, and other online devices. As such the workplace can become a screen to hide the extent of their gambling from family members. A gambling “culture” is now currently epidemic and endemic in some industries.
Some very important reasons for companies and HR managers’ to address gambling addiction in the workplace…..
The impacts of gambling addiction for companies and HR managers are significant when it’s happening in your workforce.
There will be in a reduction in productivity and lost time.
Affected employees can have higher levels of absence, take longer breaks, miss deadlines. They are most likely experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, poor concentration. Problem gambler’s experience extreme mood swings increasing the risk of suicide.
In very desperate situations the gambler might resort to theft or fraud to fund their addiction. At the time they do not think of this as stealing, they are generally thinking that they are borrowing the money and genuinely intend to pay it back with the next “big win”, which never happens.
Subsequently there is a potential risk of damage to your reputation and that of any stakeholders.
Massively important, in 2013 pathological gambling was re-classified from being a compulsive disorder such as kleptomania or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is now classified as being a behavioural addiction similar to alcohol or substance misuse.
As such organisations’ duty of care have also changed; there is a regulatory obligation to be aware of this issue and it is a CEO’s responsibility to safeguard against this mental health condition.
Whilst over 85% of UK companies have policies in place in relation to drug and alcohol use, in 2017 only around 5% of UK companies had policies in place for gambling at work. Now that’s a risky strategy.
The benefits of addressing this issue…
Organisations proactive in responding to this issue by supporting employees affected with problematic gambling really promote best working practice, help to reduce the negative impacts of problem gambling in their workplace, significantly enhance working relationships and employee engagement and will have increased productivity and a reduction in absenteeism.
We offer a range of cost effective services to organisations including staff training and specialist counselling services for employees, for further information please contact us today.