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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.