My husband's company recently set up a free health program for all employees. It appears to be an online program where people can answer questions about their health and receive useful strategies to improve their wellness. A positive step and to be commended.
However, there's an irony to this in that most companies, his included, aren't addressing one of the key problems that impact on the health of their employees. Many companies continue to place excessive demands by setting unrealistic work expectations. My husband is contracted to work a 40 hour week. He often puts in 60 hours a week as well as being on 24 hour call and, without doubt, there are many people in a far worse position.
It's no surprise therefore to hear about a new problem that is emerging in the workplace. When people think about drugs in the office, they often think of illegal drugs or alcohol. However, more frequently, office workers are abusing prescription drugs, including beta blockers and the ADHD drug Ritalin, to simply get through the day.
There's a misconception because these drugs are medications that the problem is minimal but none of these drugs are without associated risks and side effects. Concerns also relate to how people are sourcing these drugs, with reports of people buying them from children in school or from the internet, an additional risk in itself.
What's the answer?
Companies setting realistic deadlines and regulating the work hours of their employees? Call me a skeptic but I doubt the health program recommends cutting back on work hours. Employees refusing to handle crazy workloads and hours? Not if they want to keep their job.
My guess is nothing will happen, prescription drug abuse will increase and such drugs may eventually be incorporated into random work drug tests.
What's your experience?
Sunday Life Magazine 18/11/06