June 8, 2022

National Employee Wellness Month: 3 Ways To Cultivate a Migraine-friendly Workplace

National Employee Wellness Month, also known as Professional Wellness Month

June is National Employee Wellness Month. IHS-GPAC is bringing migraine education into the workplace to celebrate employee wellness every day.

National Employee Wellness Month, or Professional Wellness Month, is the time of year to increase well-being in the workplace—especially after more than two years of COVID-19. IHS-GPAC aims to bring migraine awareness and education into the workplace. Read on to learn more about Professional Wellness Month and how you can celebrate.

What Is National Employee Wellness Month?

The annual National Employee Wellness Month is celebrated throughout June to encourage healthy workplace cultures and improve employee well-being. This is when companies take the initiative to ensure work-life balance, revise wellness programs and focus on physical and mental health.

Work impacts health and health impacts work. One of the biggest threats to employee wellness and productivity are chronic diseases, such as migraine. This can reduce employees’ quality of life and increase rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, causing a loss of productivity. So, companies need to be proactive with the challenges of migraine to support employee well-being at work.

Why Are Migraine Awareness and Education So Important?

Migraine is the third most prevalent disease globally, affecting one in seven people. Because migraine attacks often strike during an individual’s most productive professional years, they can take a toll on professional advancement and personal life. It is estimated that migraine costs employers billions every year due to bedridden days and loss of productivity.

While migraine is universal, it is often ignored in the workplace. The stigma of migraine can make employees hide their symptoms or illness. It can make them feel bad for taking the time they need to recover from an attack. Employers and employees can collaborate to create a migraine-friendly workplace to break this complicated cycle. Combating the negative impact of migraine at work starts with education and awareness.

What Can I Do for National Employee Wellness Month?

There are many ways for employers and employees living with migraine to celebrate National Employee Wellness Month. Below are some tips to help foster a healthy work atmosphere in your corporation.

1. Promote Migraine Education at Work

The first step to mitigating the harm of migraine at work is to build an understanding of this disease. Employers can consider introducing a migraine education initiative like IHS-GPAC’s Migraine Fitness at Work program. This program helps employees learn more about migraine and pick up tools to cope with them at their own pace. Besides providing resources to individuals struggling with migraine, an education program can inform coworkers without migraine about how serious it can be. It may enable them to become more empathetic with those who suffer from headache disorders.

Investing in a migraine education program pays off in the long run. For example, Fujitsu Limited, a Japanese global tech corporation, found that headache disorders cost them 2.6 billion yen (over US$20 million) in lost productivity. Through IHS-GPAC’s customizable, online learning program, 71% of employees now understand that migraine is a disease that can interfere with a person’s daily life—growing from about 20% before the program. Since 2019, 73,000 participants have taken part in the headache education program.

In addition to a cost-effective educational initiative, employers can add a migraine awareness day to the company’s calendar and direct employees to helpful resources, such as an overview of migraine facts. Open dialogue with your employees is also essential to help them seek the care they deserve.

2. Provide Accommodations for Employees With Migraine

It’s hard to be productive when the workplace is full of migraine triggers and aggravating factors, from long work hours to fluorescent lights to stale air. But employers can help reduce the burden of this neurological disease with some simple accommodations:

  • Accommodate workspace change requests; for example, to a low-traffic part of the office.
  • Provide noise-canceling headsets.
  • Allow employees to wear sunglasses in the office to combat harsh lighting.
  • Prepare a dark “migraine escape room” for employees to go to when they’re experiencing an attack.
  • Improve the air quality in the office by replacing air filters more frequently and bringing in fresh air from outside.
  • Offer regular meal breaks and provide access to water.
  • Encourage walking meetings and fitness breaks.
  • Let employees work from home when they have migraine.
  • Discuss a modified, flexible schedule with the employee.
  • Provide useful, inclusive health plan options.

3. Encourage Mindfulness

For many people, sitting in an office chair and working in front of a computer for eight hours is a normal part of their daily job. Yet, this can be taxing on their physical and mental health. A sedentary lifestyle can worsen chronic migraine. Even for employees who don’t have migraine, checking emails every 30 minutes and jumping between tasks can also be overwhelming and easily make someone lose focus.

Mindfulness—a type of meditation that brings one’s attention to the present moment—can make your organization more resilient by helping employees pace themselves at work and reduce stress. Employers can set aside time during each workday and allow employees to find a comfortable spot for meditation. By encouraging employees to practice mindfulness, companies can give employees the space to be calm during work hours—enhancing mental flexibility, concentration and performance.

The path to a healthy, migraine-supportive workplace environment doesn’t just stop at the end of National Employee Wellness Month. Promoting employee well-being is a continuing effort, and positive results can take time to come through. By providing proper educational resources and management programs, employers can increase job satisfaction and minimize the negative impact of migraine at work.

If you’re interested in bringing the IHS-GPAC Workplace Initiative to your workplace, learn more and find valuable tools to help you make a difference on the IHS-GPAC website.

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