Migraine in the Workplace: How Employers should Address it
Migraine is a result of recurring headaches which makes one half of the head pain terribly. The pain triggered through migraine can last from 2 to 48 hours. It is generally followed by other complications in the body like nausea, dizziness, vomiting. Migraine also has a direct and adverse impact on a person’s concentration, during migration it almost becomes impossible to focus on the task allotted as a part of workplace duties. Since the impact of migraine may exist from a few hours to a few days, it can highly reduce the productivity of the employee at the workplace. And it may form a pathetic situation if the workplace has a high number of employees suffering from migraine.
Migraine is known to be one of the most common neurological disorder that impacts 1 of every 7 humans globally. According to Dr K. Ravishankar from Lilavati Hospitals, Mumbai, “Migraine is a chronic, disabling neurological disorder that affects more than 150 million people in India. It is still very much ignored and under-diagnosed disease in India due to the prevalence of certain misconceptions.
In the workplace, employees with more sick days off are found to be suffering from migraine most of the times. Besides, it was the migraineurs who are involved in presenteeism most of the times in the workplace. This costs employers in terms of revenue and productivity loss.
How should Employers Address Migraine in the Workplace
It is very important for employers to understand the disease and take necessary actions to improve the health of their employees suffering from migraine. Here are some key action points to address the concern:
Prevention of Migraine in Workplace
It is rightly said, “Prevention is better than the cure”. So why not identify the factors or conditions which are causing migraine in the employees at the workplace. Some of the factors that trigger migraine among employees are given by the modern workplace culture and infrastructure like lights with brighter intensity, consistent focus on computer screens, stress, poor sleep habits and lack of physical activities.
Other reasons which are often considered as migraine boosters include:
- Alcohol & Drug Addiction
- Unhealthy Eating Habits
- Lack of Physical Activity
- Wrong Posture
- Skipping Meals
- Wrong Sleeping Habits
- Time Mismanagement
- Less Water intake
- Environmental Changes
- Financial Insecurity
- Fear of Failure
The employer must address each employee personally as the migraine triggering factors may vary from person to person. However, there are some common ways that are tailored to support each employee in the workplace. See below
Revamp the Working Culture
This is totally in the hands of employer to make certain changes in the work environment to minimize the migraine triggers, for example, changing the seats of employees who come in direct exposure of highly intensive led lights, loud noise and have an allergic tendency from the strong perfume smells from their colleagues. Let’s see below some of the other changes employers can think of:
- Consider moving your office to noise proof area.
- Ask your employees to take breaks regularly to avoid long sitting in the same posture.
- Change the culture of organizing meetings in lunch hours so nobody skips a meal.
- Encourage your employees to eat healthy eatables at the workplace.
- Promote Strategies to reduce alcohol consumption.
- Consider arranging workplace yoga sessions to control stress.
- Arrange a dark and peaceful room in the workplace for employee relaxation.
- Organize on-site health check camps for employees.
Keep Track of Employee Stress Levels
The employer can introduce wearable devices to the workplace wellness programs so stress levels can be monitored by both employees as well as the employer. Having continuous monitoring of the stress patterns makes employees develop an interest in taking healthy actions. Company management can think of the tactics to deal with stress based on the patterns recorded by the wearable.
One way to get over to stress is to change the work schedule of employees impacted with a migraine so they have reduced workload.
The employer may consider giving flexible working hours or work from home facility to employees who are suffering from migraine. This surely helps them reducing stress levels as they will understand that the company cares for their well-being.
You may read How Wearable Helps in Workplace Wellness.
Introduce Workplace Wellness Programs to Address Migraine
Employers should implement a workplace wellness program for their employees to deal with migraine. The wellness programs provide helpful resources to educate and support employees suffering from migraine. The company or expert who is responsible for implementing the wellness program will ensure the employees regularly practice the necessary physical activities.
These programs will also monitor the clinical improvement made by the affected employees and assist them until they achieve the required health objective. The wellness programs will also provide suggestion to employees as well as employers how the working process needs to be changed for migraineurs based on the severity of the disease.
Workplace wellness is the best way to address migraine as the employees spent 70% of the time staying at the office. The employers must understand this and provide the necessary support to the employees who suffer from migraine. With an adjustment to the work culture and workplace infrastructure along with migraine focused wellness programs, employers can reduce the severity of the disease so migraine doesn’t become a complicated health concerns in the workplace.