Creating The Right Environment

Information taken from BITC – Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco toolkit

Creating the right environment

Leading from the top. Senior managers have a key role in encouraging healthy lifestyles by example and encouraging others to follow suit. A clear commitment from senior leaders sends a powerful message to employees at all levels. In larger organisations, good practice is to set up a working party led by a senior manager to consider how alcohol, drugs and smoking affect day-to-day activities. Where applicable, this should involve the occupational health professional and human resources managers where available, as well as employee representatives.

Good-quality people management is one of the core drivers of employee engagement, wellbeing and good mental health. Line managers need support and strategic leadership from the top to create organisational cultures where management styles based on openness and mutual respect can flourish. Employees are also more likely to open up about their own concerns if there is a clear signal from senior management that what they say will be treated sympathetically and in confidence. Managers should ensure that teams are supported in the event of colleague absences, so that workloads are well managed, and resentment doesn’t build.

Prevention: embedding health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Due to the amount of time we spend in work, a workplace environment and culture should promote wellbeing and help employees make healthier choices to improve their quality of life. As a result, they can reduce the chance of problems with alcohol and drugs and encourage those who smoke to quit.

Go beyond individual employees to address the physical and cultural workplace factors that may promote alcohol and drug misuse. Many of the factors that support workplace wellbeing are simply good management practices, including:

  • Actively and transparently engaging and communicating with employees
  • Preventing bullying and discrimination
  • Ensuring your staff can use their skills and perform their work to the best of their abilities.
  • Provide advice and information on low risk drinking and how to quit smoking.
  • Encourage employees to attend an NHS Health Check
  • Encourage employees to use anonymous online alcohol self-assessment tools to help them consider the health risks and encourage behaviour change.
  • Provide advice on good sleep and recovery – for more details, see our Sleep page or the sleep and recovery toolkit for employers produced by Business in the Community and Public Health England
  • Encourage employees to download relevant One You apps. One You provides a range of information and support about making healthier choices, including important advice about alcohol and tobacco
  • Promote mental wellbeing and resilience: for more information, see our mental health page or the mental health toolkit for employers produced by Business in the Community and Public Health England
  • Ensure there are opportunities for employees to socialise outside of work hours that do not involve alcohol