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Wellness in the workplace: supporting those with long-term health conditions

Are the facilities there to ensure they can continue to work?

Complimentary gym memberships, on-site doctors and anti-smoking campaigns are just a few of the perks that businesses may offer their staff, but what about employees who already suffer from chronic or long term conditions?

Some experts believe not. With statistics indicating that 40% of working people will be living with a chronic health condition by 2030, more needs to be done to support them. Providing this targeted support will have numerous benefits for the employee, the business and society in general.

The employee gets to continue working and maintain their livelihood – both of which have been proven to have positive effects on their health and wellbeing. The business will retain knowledgeable, experienced staff while promoting a positive image and fulfilling its legal obligations surrounding diversity and discrimination.

From an economic perspective, people who have worked during and after a cancer diagnosis are important to the country – why should they come out of work if simple, reasonable provisions can be made to help them to continue fulfilling their duties?

What exactly can companies do to meet the necessary needs of these employees? On a practical level, it is important that the staff managing those with long-term health issues are trained and equipped to do so, which goes some way to improving communication and discussing the best ways for a work arrangement to be handled in a mutually beneficial manner.

Having a flexible approach to the working hours, expectations and the working environment of chronically ill employees is also a good idea, bearing in mind that each individual may have different needs and requirements.

Businesses that have little or no experience in managing employees with long-term health conditions can seek guidance from employment experts. The government provides a number of workplace schemes, policies and initiatives designed to help sick people to continue to work and charities such as Macmillan are also dedicated to providing the right sort of training, information and guidance to businesses eager to bring sick employees back into the workplace.

While an employee is well enough to work, there is no reason why they should not do so. Making work accessible for employees with long-term health conditions is not just a case of the business doing them a favour but also a sensible and beneficial option for the individual.

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