9.3% of Americans have diabetes — that’s nearly 1 in 10. What’s more, many studies suggest those numbers are on the rise. This fall, in honor of November’s National Diabetes Awareness Month, try these tips to make it easier than ever for diabetics to work effectively and safely in your business!
Debunk Workplace Myths
One of the most problematic prejudices is the assumption that diabetic employees are unsafe or unreliable because of the presumed threat of hypoglycemic episodes. In an article from the Clinical Diabetes Journals, authors Kathy Butler, Des Shatz, and Katie Hathaway write, “Safety fears – whether they are based on stereotypes and outdated myths about diabetes or on the application of one-size-fits-all policies – can be one of the biggest hurdles for employees.”
In reality, hypoglycemia is almost never a threat on the job, provided that employees have access to the tools they need to monitor and manage their blood glucose levels, — check out the piece linked above for some great examples of when it might and definitely is not an issue.
Make Your Dress Code Inclusive
If you aren’t familiar with the burdens of carrying around diabetic devices, try searching “insulin pump + dress code” on Google or YouTube. You’ll find countless forums, videos, and advice columns all dedicated to effectively concealing these devices in everything from business attire to wedding dresses.
It’s a very real concern for diabetics who wear these devices –and as employers, we have the power to make it at least a little less of one. Try looking up some images to get a better idea of what the device looks like to avoid any awkward questions, or worst, accidental reprimands at work. Make sure your dress code clearly allows clothes that can conceal pumps, and doesn’t punish employees whose devices may be visible.
Offer Accommodations — And Options
Because diabetes is now considered a disability, you as an employer are required to make certain accommodations for employees. Our suggestion? Go the extra mile to make sure your employees feel comfortable and safe. If possible, try to have a private discussion for the employee about what they feel comfortable with — for instance, going over what to do in case of an emergency with HR personnel.
Also, consider offering flexible or remote work options to help accommodate for doctor’s appointments. Remote time tracking tools, like the employee time tracking application from FingerCheck, make it easier than ever for employees to work from home. Just eliminating the stress and hassle of a commute a few times a week can be a great way to make things easier for your employees.
Stay on Top of ACA Compliance — and Make Sure Your Employees Know Their Options
The Affordable Care Act can be complicated for employers to understand and comply with. If you need help understanding what ACA legislation applies to your business, check out the new free ACA compliance features offered by FingerCheck. These tools make it easy to use your existing HR data to make a determination for you. The American Diabetes Association estimates that there are over 9 million undiagnosed cases of diabetes.
More affordable healthcare, either offered by you or subsidized through the health insurance marketplace can help employees living with the symptoms be diagnosed and treated, resulting in a more energized workforce. Tell us: how do you think employers can better serve diabetic employees? What solutions has your business come up with to help keep your workforce healthy and productive? We’d love to hear your take!