November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, giving us a great reason to focus on one of the most pervasive chronic diseases in America. In the United States alone, diabetes affects more than 37 million people — each of whom must live with the disease all day, every day, including in the workplace.
Employees with diabetes can face special challenges while at work, but those challenges can be managed or overcome with good communication and a little planning between the worker and his or her superior.
Addressing Diabetes Is Good for Business
Diabetes can be costly. In fact, a recent study by the American Diabetes Association estimated the total cost of diabetes in the workplace at $327 billion. Helping your employees prevent or manage diabetes can not only help them be healthier and more productive, but it can also actually lower health care costs for them and for your business. While each employee must ultimately manage his or her own diabetes, smart employers know there’s a strong business case for helping employees with diabetes stay healthier. So, what are some ways that employers can help in the fight against diabetes?
- Screening programs. Consider adding voluntary screening programs or health fairs to your company’s health care programs. These can include glucose screenings, A1C, blood pressure testing, cholesterol and weight screenings.
- Offer incentives. Consider incentivizing participation in diabetes and other health management programs.
- Lead by example. Promote healthier lifestyle practices in the workplace, and ensure employees are aware of any exercise programs, healthy diet and weight loss programs and/or annual health screenings that may be available to them.
Small adjustments to your company’s work environment and culture can help reduce medical absenteeism, increase productivity, improve concentration and energy levels, and reduce the chance of on-the-job injury.
Mercy Occupational Medicine can help your company in the fight against chronic diseases like diabetes by holding on-site wellness screenings, vaccinations and healthier lifestyle programming for your employees. If you are interested in these services, please contact Jon Medin at email@example.com or by calling 828.252.3443.
Source: Center for Disease Control, and American Diabetes Association