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How a boss can help employees make better healthcare decisions

by on November 22, 2020 in Lead Article, Lead story, Uncategorized

Many people can find it very difficult to talk about their health. Talking about our own health problems can be a bit taboo, making it quite challenging to be open and honest about how we are feeling. This is especially the case when it comes to mental health.

In 2018, 74% of people felt so stressed that they were overwhelmed and unable to cope. This stress can often be made worse by the demands of the workplace. Therefore, it is important for bosses to engage in open and frank discussions with their employees about their health.

Why talk to your employees?

Employees may be silently struggling with something and be worried that, by talking to you, it could affect their job. They might have refused to make a doctor’s appointment as this would mean taking time off work. Their particular needs might demand workplace alterations for which they are too embarrassed to ask.

Encouraging your employees to be open and honest can allow you to engage in an extremely important dialogue. You can find out ways in which you can accommodate their needs by making reasonable adjustments. This could be changing their shift pattern or working hours slightly, or changes to their physical environment if necessary. It will also mean that you can let people know – with their permission, of course – what to do in a medical emergency.

How to approach the subject

It is important to be open, brief, clear and honest. Your sensitivity of approach will make them feel more comfortable telling you how their health concerns might affect their work. You don’t need to dig or get every single detail as long as you have the information required to put in place adequate support.

How can you support your employees?

One way to support your employees’ healthcare is to think about investing in or enhancing your existing Employee Assistance Programme, or EAP . An EAP allows your employees a space where they can talk about their personal problems and work-related issues. Programmes like this usually offer free assessments and counselling.

This is a flexible and productive way to support your employees. They can get support for emergencies and trauma, or general wellbeing and meditation, all in one interactive programme. Counsellors will be made available up to 24 hours a day, with sometimes immediate response times.

One benefit of this is that it is all confidential. Your employees can get the support they need without having to have that potentially awkward conversation with their boss. They can receive the help they need how and when they want, without risking your company’s productivity.

An EAP has everything from private and counselling to financial, legal and retirement advisors. Employees are free to get help for anything they are struggling with, whether it is work-related or not. If left untreated, these issues can sometimes spiral until they risk any affected employee’s health and job performance.

As a boss, you have the ability to help your employees help themselves. Encouraging a workforce that is honest about how they feel can go a long way towards supporting their needs. ​

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