In addition to affecting interpersonal relationships with friends and family members, problem gambling affects the workplace environment as well. With the rise of online gambling and its easy accessibility, employees struggling with gambling addiction face unique challenges that can significantly impact their professional lives. In this article, we will explore the various ways that problem gambling can cause problems in the workplace and how employers can provide support for people struggling with this issue.
With the rise of online gambling sites, including sports gambling in NJ and other ways people gamble online, one of the most apparent consequences of problem gambling in the workplace is reduced productivity. Problem gamblers often struggle to focus on their tasks, as their minds are preoccupied with thoughts of gambling or financial concerns. This lack of concentration and decreased motivation can lead to errors, missed deadlines, and subpar work quality. Consequently, overall productivity takes a hit, affecting both the individual and the organization.
Problem gamblers may also experience increased absenteeism. While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally having a good time gambling during lunch with coworkers, having a problem can drive someone to go further. They may take extended lunch breaks or spend time gambling during working hours, either in person or through online gambling platforms. This absence can disrupt team dynamics, increase the workload on colleagues, and impact overall productivity — even if the person thinks they’re making a profit themselves. (see also: “Are you really winning?”)
Potential Theft and Fraud
While having a gambling problem doesn’t make someone a thief, debt can lead to desperate measures. When their financial stress intensifies, employees who gamble excessively may resort to stealing money or valuable items from their workplace or colleagues to fuel their gambling habit. This behavior not only harms the company financially but also erodes trust among employees and creates a hostile work environment.
Health Problems & Increased Stress
The impact of gambling excessively isn’t limited to a person’s wallet. The stress and anxiety associated with gambling problems can also lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and depression. These health problems can further exacerbate workplace challenges, as employees who gamble during working hours or suffer from the aftermath of gambling may struggle to perform at their best.
Additionally, the constant financial strain and emotional turmoil of gambling addiction can spill over into an employee’s personal life, affecting their relationships with family members, friends, and others. The resulting emotional distress can hinder teamwork and collaboration.
How Employers Can Address Gambling in the Workplace
It goes without saying that problem gambling can have far-reaching consequences, extending beyond an individual’s personal life to impact their performance and well-being in the workplace. However, there are also many ways that organizations can support their employees. By acknowledging the impact of problem gambling and fostering a culture of understanding and support, workplaces can be another pillar of support for those who need help.
Here are a few steps employers can take:
Educate employees about problem gambling, its warning signs, and available resources. Encourage an open dialogue and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help.
Develop clear policies regarding gambling in the workplace, including guidelines on internet usage and the consequences of gambling during working hours.
Enhance Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Consider enhancing your existing employee assistance program to include support for employees having problems gambling excessively.
Develop Training Programs
Offer training sessions or workshops to increase awareness among employees and managers about the impact of gambling addiction. This can help identify early signs, offer support, and create a positive work environment.
Get Help Now
If you or someone you love is dealing with a gambling problem, don’t wait. Reach out to 800-GAMBLER now. Our confidential, toll-free hotline is open 24/7, and we’re ready to connect you with the resources you need. Get in touch with us today to get started, and take your life back once and for all!