How’s your day going?

Dizziness, speech problems, light sensitivity, nausea, throbbing head pain, confusion – how’s your day going?

I’m a chronic migraine sufferer and I have my own ways to ensure it minimally affects my work. I can generally manage to keep it together until I get home and collapse in bed!

I’m lucky that I have understanding bosses who help me make adjustments to my workspace and recognise the importance of helping all employees with their wellbeing. However, others may not be so lucky. But if we look at the statistics, we can see what an impact it can have for businesses let alone the individual:

* Migraine is the third most common disease in the world, and it affects 1 in 7 people.

* It is estimated that the U.K. loses 25 million days of work or school each year due to migraine.

* That is a cost of £2.25 billion in absenteeism.

* Migraine costs the NHS £150 million per year but it’s the least publicly funded of all neurological disease’s comparative to economic impact.

Obviously, this is just my experience with a chronic illness. There are many other illnesses that employees can suffer from that employers need to recognise.

Croner-i noted that at the conference Working with a Chronic Illness held in Brussels in 2013, the delegates of the European Network for Workplace Health Promotion signed a Declaration on Workplace Health Practices for Employees with Chronic Illness. The Declaration contains 10 recommendations for politicians, employer organisations and unions at EU and national level, as follows.

  1. Focus on the prevention of chronic diseases at the workplace.
  2. Detect chronic diseases at an early stage.
  3. Shift the paradigm from reduced performance to retaining current and future working ability.
  4. Focus on the abilities and resources of the individual and not only on limitations or restrictions.
  5. Address discrimination against people with chronic diseases.
  6. Raise the importance and priority of return-to-work on the policy agenda.
  7. Increase the opportunities for employment of persons with chronic illness.
  8. Ensure that work is rewarding: work must include a positive cost-benefit ratio.
  9. Ensure close and systematic cooperation of all relevant players and stakeholders involved.
  10. Fill the gaps in existing knowledge, extend and maintain evidence and experience-based interventions.

How can you help an employee with a chronic illness?

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