There are some easy ways employers support employees with diabetes and make daile management easier.
At present, as many as 34.2 million Americans are living with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Apart from the impact a diabetes diagnosis can have on an individual, it can also affect an organization, as well as the greater U.S. economy. In fact, absence from work due to type 2 diabetes, in particular, has been found to cost employers in the region of $20 billion every single year, according to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Although the onset of type 2 diabetes cannot always be prevented, employers can support affected employees in numerous ways. One way to achieve this is to put policies in place that will ensure that the employee is treated fairly without prejudice, while protecting the organization at the same time. This will not only benefit the individual with diabetes, but the business’s bottom line as well.
A wellness program supporting a healthy lifestyle is of paramount importance to someone living with diabetes. This includes following a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Encouraging employees to make healthy lifestyle choices can make it considerably easier for them to manage their condition. Employees who tend to spend a lot of time on their feet during working hours may be more prone to experiencing uncomfortable and even painful nerve damage, especially in the feet. Urging employees to wear special diabetic socks to relieve the neuropathy will not only improve personal comfort, but boost productivity as well. Healthy eating and exercise can be encouraged by revising the canteen menu, offering healthy cooking tutorials, setting up an exercise area in the office, and having fun teambuilding events that require physical activity.
Creating diabetes awareness in the workplace is a great way to actively support any employees living with the condition. Apart from supporting employees who have been diagnosed with diabetes, the general workforce can also benefit from education around the causes, symptoms, and treatment of diabetes. It is not always easy to relate to a colleague who has a long-term illness, and having a greater understanding of the condition will undoubtedly make it considerably easier.
It is also important to have the necessary medical policies in place to ensure that employees with diabetes are assessed for safety risks and receive the support they require. If no one within the organization is equipped to initiate an awareness campaign, it may be a good idea to contact the American Diabetes Association for assistance.
Employees with diabetes need to carefully manage their condition on a daily basis. This may involve taking medication, administering insulin injections, testing their blood glucose levels, and snacking regularly. As some of these actions are rather personal in nature, it is important that the employer provide a private and clean space in the workplace where the employee can attend to their condition. Since insulin should ideally be kept in a fridge, a small, secure space in the office refrigerator will undoubtedly be appreciated.
Additionally, employees who need to keep well-hydrated and snack regularly to stabilize blood glucose levels should be allowed to keep their food and water bottles in close proximity to where they are working.
A diabetes diagnosis can have a huge impact on an individual’s life. Supporting employees with diabetes in the workplace will not only benefit them, but improve the organization as a whole as well and help to reduce stress.