Businesses of all shapes and sizes have a duty of care to their staff and managing chronic pain conditions that employees may suffer with is a big part of that wellbeing piece when it comes to the employee value proposition.
With an estimated 15 million people in the UK living with some kind of long-term condition, small businesses and companies of all sizes are being met and an increasing obligation to help staff manage issues that they may be working through.
The issue with a lot of chronic pain conditions is that they can often not be very visible, or well understood. New research from Fibromyalgia compensation specialists BLB suggests that only 37% or two out of every five Britons has heard of the condition despite data from Google trends suggesting that the condition is becoming increasingly common or at least searched for.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-lasting) condition characterised by widespread pain and tenderness and a host of other symptoms including fatigue and sleep problems. Its cause is not fully understood but people with the condition have a heightened sensitivity to pain (NIAMS, 2022).
The data suggests that there is still a long way to go in terms of developing awareness of the condition, but the research piece from BLB also shows that Google searches for Fibromyalgia have increased a considerable amount over the previous 18 years. Having a robust policy in place when it comes to helping staff and employees with conditions like Fibromyalgia may seem like a big task, but what are some of the fundamentals that employers can look at to try and help staff?
What can small businesses do to help staff with chronic conditions?
Helping workers with chronic conditions can be challenging but some of the common themes within wider wellbeing can become even more important when it comes to helping people that are struggling. Promoting good work-life balance is particularly helpful for people with conditions like Fibromyalgia who may find it difficult to work through particularly bad spells of symptoms. The greater flexibility you can offer them, the easier it will be for them to manage their condition.
Helping employees to stay connected with each other and wider support groups is also something you can promote as part of your wellbeing programme. This will help employees have their say when it comes to how best to manage different conditions and better understand how others are dealing with their issues.
The themes outlined above should form a part of your health, safety and wellbeing policy, and having one is not only important from a compliance and legal perspective, but also an important element ethically and will help you build a sustainable business that looks after staff.