Archive for the ‘Workplace Wellness’ Category

How to Bring Headache Awareness to the Workplace

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Promoting a happy and healthy work environment is essential to having a productive, prospering workplace. Migraines are a common deterrent to both productivity and attendance in employees. Outside of the general stress or tension headaches that plague many people, over 40 million Americans suffer from the neurological disease of Migraine headaches. Many migraine sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated. Here are some ways to bring education and awareness to your workplace.

Includes FREE 18X24 Headache Awareness Poster
  1. Education and Treatment Options

According to recent studies, 52% of Migraine sufferers remain undiagnosed. Common over-the-counter treatment medications are insufficient to treat the multiple debilitating symptoms associated with Migraines. These symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and difficulty concentrating. All these things make it extremely difficult to work, leading to absences from work which we refer to as “absenteeism.”

Still, others are afraid of being labeled as unreliable and choose to stay at work amidst their symptoms. This leads to a decreased level of performance and a term we call “presenteeism.” Employees are present in the body at their job, but they are working at far less than optimal capacity. Presenteeism accounts for most of the cost to a company due to headaches.

The National Headache Foundation has created a program called “WorkMigraine” with education modules geared towards Employees, HR, and Employers respectively. These modules and resources are influential in educating individuals on headaches and treatment options. They have the potential to significantly decrease the loss of productivity due to headaches.

2. Omit or Minimize Triggers

Creating an environment that is sensitive to the needs of headache sufferers is a simple way to bring wellness to your workplace. If possible, omit or minimize the following triggers of headaches and migraines:

  • Stress – promote a healthy lifestyle and relaxation techniques.
  • Noise – minimize loud talking, music or machinery. Provide earplugs if needed.
  • Light – flickering fluorescent lights can be problematic. A more indirect light source may be beneficial. Consider encouraging employees to use blue light glasses to help with computer screen glare.
  • Odors – enforce a cologne-free workplace. Ensure there is proper airflow and fresh air. Designate a specific area for eating, away from workspaces.
  • Posture – use ergonomic chairs and desks. Offer standing desks for those who may benefit from that option.

Some headaches may be avoided by limiting these common triggers. In addition, providing a dark, quiet space for employees who are struggling with headaches may prevent them from getting worse. This can allow an employee to recover quickly and be able to get back to work.

If all else fails, understand that an employee at work suffering from a migraine will not perform well. Encourage them to seek treatment and rest.

3. Have an Open Dialogue

Open communication with your employees is essential to good morale and finding solutions to any problems. When an employee can partner with their employer to come up with a plan, there can be progress. Have an open dialogue with employees about their specific headache triggers. Provide encouragement to seek treatment from a healthcare professional. Go over options for sick days and ways they can make up time they may miss due to their headaches.

Migraine sufferers are not unreliable. They have a neurological disease that needs attention and treatment. It is difficult to see the symptoms of a migraine outwardly, but with open communication, absenteeism and even presenteeism can be lessened and even avoided.

Visit The National Headache Foundation for more information and resources on Headache Awareness and the WorkMigraine program.

Promoting a Safe & Healthy Workplace

Friday, February 21st, 2020

“Almost 3 million workers die each year from occupational accidents and work related diseases. This is an unacceptable and avoidable human cost. We can and must reduce and eliminate such deaths, injuries and diseases from work.”

International Labour Organization Director-General, Guy Ryder

The quote above is extremely sobering. When we realize that the vast majority of these illnesses and deaths are due to mere human error, we understand how important greater education and prevention truly are. We cannot afford so many lives lost or affected by our carelessness or neglect.

At IAB, we are doing our part to spread health education in the workplace. We connect healthcare providers with employer groups to help bring wellness to the workplace. This April 28th, we observe World Day for Safety and Health in the Workplace. Each year the International Labour Organization focuses on a specific theme for this day. Below we will go over some practical ways to promote health and safety in your workplace.

Healthy Habits in the Workplace

  • Handwashing
    • Handwashing is always the single most effective and simplest way to prevent the spread of disease. You should always wash hands after using the restroom. Wash hands at the start of your shift, after removing any protective gloves, between patients, before food prep, etc. Be mindful of the type of work you’re in and fill in appropriate times when diseases could potentially be spread. Never underestimate the importance and effectiveness of handwashing. Keeping a generally clean and sanitary work environment also prevents the spread of disease.
  • Ventilation
    • Proper air ventilation can also help prevent the spread of disease. The building humidity should be kept at 60 percent or less to inhibit the growth of any mold or fungus. Ensure that the building’s ventilation system is maintained properly. Circulation of fresh air keeps bacteria from growing and provides healthy air to breathe.
  • Vaccinations
    • Keep up to date on all the recommended vaccinations. Providing on-site vaccinations that pertain to your line of work is an extra measure that is well worth the effort. Tetanus and Flu shots are beneficial to everyone. Certain hepatitis vaccinations should be emphasized to protect those working with children, in healthcare or waste collection. Consult your doctor for the best vaccine recommendations for your workplace.
  • Protective gear
    • If you can potentially come into contact with any type of hazardous material at work, the proper protective covering can be life-saving. Eyes and mouths are vulnerable areas that can easily contract an illness. Keep them covered with masks, face shields, respirators, and safety glasses. Use gowns and gloves to cover clothing and hands which can carry infectious material. Without these coverings, diseases can be spread from person to person or from hand to face.

Safety in the Workplace

Safety policies and procedures are extremely important. But they are only useful if they are actually practiced. Review policies frequently and make sure all employees are familiar with them. Making safety a priority has to become a habit and habits take time to develop. When you create a work environment that promotes safe practices, it has to start with the employer to trickle down to the employees. Create a culture of safety and new employees will naturally be grafted in.

Other things to keep in mind when promoting a safe work environment:

  • Always wear protective safety gear where appropriate.
  • Understand that safety is non-negotiable.
  • Take extra care to hire employees with integrity who will put safety first and not cut corners.
  • Make plans and practice procedures for emergency situations.
  • Provide proper training and multiple opportunities for practice.

ILO 2020 Theme: Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

Violence and harassment are unfortunate realities in the workplace. Where there are large groups of people, there will always be a risk for some occurrence of inappropriate or dangerous behavior. Here are some practical ways we can help decrease their occurrence or at least head them off before any real danger occurs.

  • Employers –
    • Be sure to check on the morale of your employees. You can’t monitor everyone all the time, but if you’re an easy person to approach, employees are more likely to come to you when there is a problem.
    • Hire people for their skill level but also for their character.
    • Offer training and materials on what to do if you experience or witness bullying or harassment at work.
    • Have a harassment policy and review it often.
  • Employees –
    • Speak up. If you feel as though you or a coworker may be in danger, tell someone about it. Don’t try to handle it on your own. Making a big deal out of nothing is better than waiting until it’s too late.A Forbes article on Workplace safety gave this real-life example:

      A woman overheard a colleague talking fearfully to her boyfriend while on a break outside the building; the woman was pleading with her boyfriend not to show up at her office. The colleague reported this to Human Resources and they called the police who showed up mere minutes before the boyfriend appeared; he was armed. By speaking up, the colleague had saved the day.

    • Know your rights. If you’re being harassed or discriminated against report it.
    • Keep notes on occurrences of harassment with as many details as possible.
    • Call the police. If you’ve become a victim of a criminal act, do not hesitate to contact authorities.

Together we can make our workplace a safer and healthier place to be. Training and prevention are absolutely essential for our success in diminishing the number of casualties each year. Visit our National Wellness Observance Calendar for more resources on World Day for Safety and Health at Work.