12 ways to be a diabetes-friendly employer
Diabetes is a complicated illness, influenced by many different health related and environmental factors.
It is estimated that there are currently 1.2 million people living with diabetes in Australia, in addition to another 500,000 individuals who have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes – that’s about 7% of Australian adults who have diabetes.
Another 2.4 million Australians are also estimated to be impacted, as they are often in a support role for those who have diabetes.
This World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2021, the theme is ‘Access to Diabetes Care’.
We’re very lucky in Australia that people with diabetes can access top-of-the-line diabetes care; however, when it comes to the workplace, not all employees are lucky enough to access employers that are diabetes-friendly.
Employers have a duty of care to provide a ‘safe environment’ for their workers but often certain elements of environments can be overlooked.
At Feros Care, we’re very proud to be a diabetes-friendly employer and have some top tips to share on how other workplaces can also be more appealing to team members with diabetes.
In the office:
- Have an action place and know what to do in the event of an emergency, such as a hypo- or hyperglycemic attack
- Work collaboratively with team members to create a safe environment, such as space to store insulin in the fridge at work
- Have glucose on site to prevent hypoglycemia
- Take dietary needs into consideration when necessary, such as at work functions
- Allow team members to take breaks as they need them, understanding that their productivity levels may vary depending on their current health state
- Don’t be afraid to ask about diabetes and regularly check in on team members to see how they are managing their work-life balance
- Encourage an open conversation about diabetes in the workplace to reduce the risk of judgment among peers
- Give the gift of the benefit of the doubt! If a team member is angry, agitated or drowsy it may be a diabetic episode
- Respect privacy and facilitate an environment when a team member can take insulin in private, or not give away more health information than what they are comfortable with
Out of office:
- Have flexible work arrangements which can accommodate for sick leave
- Have an exercise program in place which helps team members to live a more active lifestyle
Unlike other illnesses, diabetes is a self-managed disease and individuals must learn how to manage it; however, by working for a diabetes friendly employer, this can help people living with diabetes enjoy their boldest life!