Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, are increasingly common in the UK workforce. According to the Health and Safety Executive, an estimated 36.8 million working days were lost in 2021/22 due to work-related ill health, with many of these cases involving chronic health conditions. As an employer, it’s important to understand how chronic health conditions can impact your employees and their work performance, and how you can support them in managing their condition at work.
Impact on Employees
Chronic health conditions can have a significant impact on an employee’s work performance, as well as their mental and physical health. Some of the ways chronic health conditions can affect employees include:
- Decreased productivity: Employees with chronic health conditions may experience pain, fatigue, or other symptoms that can make it difficult to concentrate or complete tasks. This can lead to decreased productivity and a lower quality of work.
- Increased absenteeism: Employees with chronic health conditions may need to take time off work for medical appointments, treatments, or to manage their symptoms. This can lead to increased absenteeism, which can be disruptive to the workplace and result in lost productivity.
- Mental health issues: Chronic health conditions can also take a toll on an employee’s mental health, leading to stress, anxiety, and depression. This can further impact work performance and lead to increased absenteeism.
- Reduced physical capacity: Depending on the nature of the chronic health condition, an employee may experience physical limitations that can make certain tasks or duties difficult or impossible to perform.
Supporting Employees with Chronic Health Conditions
Employers can take a number of steps to support employees with chronic health conditions. Here are some examples:
- Offer flexible work arrangements: Depending on the nature of the employee’s chronic health condition, offering flexible work arrangements such as part-time or remote work, flexible schedules, or job sharing can help them manage their condition while still being able to contribute to the workplace.
- Provide education and resources: Providing education and resources on chronic health conditions, such as workshops or seminars, can help employees better understand their condition and how to manage it at work. Employers can also provide resources such as assistive devices or ergonomic equipment to help employees perform their job tasks more comfortably.
- Create a supportive work environment: Employers can create a supportive work environment by promoting open communication and offering support to employees with chronic health conditions. This can include offering counselling or coaching services and creating a culture of empathy and understanding.
- Make reasonable accommodations: Employers have a legal obligation to make reasonable accommodations for employees with chronic health conditions under the Equality Act 2010. This can include making physical modifications to the workplace, offering additional breaks, or adjusting job tasks to accommodate the employee’s condition.
By taking these steps, employers can support employees with chronic health conditions in managing their condition at work, while also promoting a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
The Importance of Healthy Worker Medicals
In addition to the steps outlined above, Healthscreen’s Healthy Worker Medicals can provide additional support for employers in managing employee chronic health conditions at work. They are designed to help identify and assess employee health risks, including chronic health conditions, and provide guidance on how to manage those risks in the workplace.
Our medicals can include testing for chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal disorders, as well as lifestyle factors that can impact an employee’s health, such as diet, exercise, and stress management. Based on the results of the assessment, our healthcare professionals can provide recommendations for managing the employee’s chronic health condition, as well as general advice on how to maintain good health in the workplace.
In addition, our assessments can help employers comply with relevant health and safety regulations and demonstrate their commitment to employee health and wellbeing.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Healthscreen’s Healthy Worker Medicals can help manage employee chronic health conditions in your workplace, please contact us today. Our team of healthcare professionals would be happy to discuss our services with you and answer any questions you may have.