As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that all of your employees feel supported in the workplace. This includes employees who may have health conditions that require accommodation. If you’re unsure where to start, don’t worry—this blog covers six ways you can support employees with health conditions:
1. Offer Flexible Scheduling
If an employee has a health condition that requires regular doctor’s appointments or treatments, it’s essential to be flexible with their scheduling. Allowing them to come in early or leave early for appointments can go a long way in making them feel supported.
You should also allow them to work from home if needed. For example, if an employee has a chronic illness that causes fatigue, working from home a few days a week may be the best accommodation.
In addition, employees may need to take time off for doctor’s appointments or treatments. Make sure your leave policy is generous and allows employees to take all the time necessary without the threat of penalty.
2. Provide Health Insurance Coverage
If you provide health insurance for your employees, make sure that it covers the treatments and medication needed for their condition. If it doesn’t, consider adding a rider to the policy or switching to a different provider.
For instance, you can even offer to pay for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) needs or other procedures that are usually not covered by health insurance. This will go a long way in helping your employees feel supported.
In addition, many companies are now offering on-site health clinics and other wellness programs to their employees. This is a great way to support employees with health conditions if you have the resources. On-site clinics can provide convenient access to primary care, and wellness programs can help employees manage chronic conditions.
Finally, you should also ensure that your employees know about your coverage. They may not be aware of what’s covered, so educating them is crucial.
3. Make Accommodations For Their Condition
Depending on the nature of the employee’s condition, specific accommodations may need to be made in the workplace. For example, if they have a condition that requires them to sit down frequently, you might want to provide them with a stool or allow them to work from a seated position.
If they have a condition that makes it difficult for them to stand for long periods of time, you might want to allow them to take breaks more often or provide them with a standing desk. Moreover, if an employee has diabetes, you might want to make sure that there is a place for them to store their insulin in the office.
Of course, accommodations will vary depending on the employee’s needs. It’s important to consult with them to figure out what would work best.
4. Offer Employee Assistance Programs
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are a great way to support employees with health conditions. These programs provide confidential counseling and support for employees who are either dealing with work-related problems or personal issues.
EAPs can help employees deal with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. They can also help them manage chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
If you don’t have an EAP, there are many companies that offer these services. You can usually purchase them for a small fee per employee.
5. Encourage A Healthy Lifestyle
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle is a great way to support employees with health conditions. This can be done in several ways.
First, you can offer discounts on gym memberships or other fitness programs. You can also provide healthy food options in the office, such as fruits and vegetables, and make sure that there is a place for employees to exercise during their break time.
You can also hold wellness events or challenges, such as a weight-loss competition or a step-counting challenge. These events can help employees get motivated to live healthier lifestyles.
Finally, you can provide education on healthy lifestyle choices. This can be done through lunch-and-learns, emails, or even flyers in the break room.
By encouraging a healthy lifestyle, you can help employees reduce their risk of developing chronic conditions and improve their overall health.
6. Educate Your Other Employees
It’s vital that you educate your other employees about your company’s policies regarding employees with health conditions. This way, they will be more understanding and supportive if an accommodation needs to be made for someone with a health condition.
You should also remind them that any medical information about an employee is confidential and should not be shared without the employee’s consent. For instance, you might want to send out an email reminding employees of your policies.
In addition, you should make sure that your managers are aware of the accommodations that need to be made for employees with health conditions. They should be the ones to enforce the policy and make sure that everyone is following it. Taking these steps can create a supportive environment for employees with health conditions.
Supporting employees with health conditions is an integral part of being a responsible employer. By offering flexible scheduling, providing coverage through health insurance, making accommodations as needed, offering EAPs, encouraging a healthier lifestyle, and educating other employees about the company policy above others, you can create a workplace that is supportive and inclusive for all.