Health Wise - How to support employees who suffer from migraines

An estimated 6 million people in the UK suffer from migraines, which means that employers need to start taking note of what they can do to accommodate sufferers in the workplace.

It's estimated that treating migraines costs the NHS up to £150 million per year, but the annual cost to the economy is likely to be far higher. Due to sick days or reduced productivity in work, experts predict that this figure is closer to £2.25 billion, which makes migraines a serious issue for employers as well as workers.

We've already looked at the ways in which you can reduce staff absences, but there are specific steps you can take to help those who suffer from migraines. 

What is a migraine? 

We're all familiar with having the occasional headache at work, but a migraine is different. A migraine is a condition of recurring headaches, which are often combined with other symptoms such as sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and eyesight changes. 

Migraines are usually caused by an abnormally sensitive nervous system which causes painful, recurring headaches. In some cases, migraines can affect people relatively infrequently but they can also occur as frequently as several times a week.

Regardless of the frequency, migraines can be debilitating and often prevent sufferers from carrying out normal day-to-day tasks as well as affecting productivity. 

How to support employees who suffer from migraines

With a few small adjustments to the working environment, you can accommodate employees who suffer from frequent migraines. Grants are available through Access to Work which can help to cover the cost of specialist items such as chairs and IT equipment if they are deemed absolutely necessary.

However, there are also things you can manage in-house which are far more cost effective. For example, some sufferers find that their symptoms are worse at certain times, so flexible working allows them to manage their condition.

It's also worth ensuring that there are private areas in your workplace where your employee can go for peace and escape bright lights if they are suffering.

Other things to consider are adding fluorescent light filters to existing lights, as this can create a more natural light which can minimise triggers. It's also worth talking to the individual in question to see if they have any specific triggers which you can work together to eliminate where possible. 

If you have substantial concerns about your employee, you can contact Access to Work for advice on the suitability of their work station.

To find out more about accommodating migraines and improving employee wellbeing, get in touch with our team today. 

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Categories: Absence ManagementHealth & WellbeingHealth WiseOccupational Health

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