In this post, writer Hannah Emery shares her tips and advice on how to be a creative employer and assist people with long-term health conditions in the workplace. If you’re ready to become more inclusive in your practice and diversity your workforce, sign up with Astriid today!
Many employers want to build a more diverse workforce that assists those with long-term health conditions into employment, but are unsure how to make it work in practice. Inclusivity is of benefit to all employees, as is having a workplace that prioritises the health of its staff. It just may take some creative thinking and looking outside of the box to give everyone who wants to work to the chance to do so.
Working from home
The pandemic has shown that a large amount of work can be carried out at home, not in the office environment. This was a barrier that people with chronic conditions came up against pre-covid where the mindset that work had to be done in an office was widespread.
Having the ability to work from home is not just of benefit to those with long-term health issues but their employers too, with a survey of disabled employees finding that they were more productive working from home and took ‘fewer sick days as were able to manage their conditions better’.
Removing set hours
Most jobs are based around working certain hours of a day, whether that be 9am-5pm or shift patterns. This can be difficult for those with chronic conditions if their health is variable and they are unable to know when they will be well enough to work. Having the freedom to work when they can even if that is an evening or weekend takes the pressure off an individual to have to attempt to work when they really aren’t up to it. In turn, this will improve their effectiveness and quality of work produced.
Job sharing and part-time working
The majority of roles advertised as part-time are still for 20+ hours. For lots of people with long-term health conditions, this is not part-time enough! To assist those with chronic conditions into work, having opportunities for working less than 20 hours a week is a simple way for a company to be more inclusive.
Having multiple employees split the responsibility for one role between them can work well for those with chronic conditions. Normally a job share is between two people, but it can be divided further with three or four people working together to enable them to work fewer hours each.
Energy levels and fatigue can play a part in many long-term health conditions. Having a suitable place in the work environment for employees to have a short break, rest, or even a nap can increase productivity and avoid burnout. If your employees work from home, ensuring that they know they can have rest breaks throughout the day if required is important. Time taken to rest can be made up with flexibility over the removal of set hours. Having a more relaxed attitude to when hours are worked can also be applicable for when employees need time off for medical appointments.
A one-size-fits-all plan rarely works when each individual will have a differing set of needs. Being flexible for every employee to allow them to thrive in the work environment is crucial. Focusing on what people with long-term conditions can do and looking for ways to enable them to do this in a supportive environment that works for them will help break down any barriers that are preventing them from joining the workforce.
Written by Hannah Emery
Are you ready to become a creative employer and diversify your workforce? Sign up with Astriid today!