According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.4% of the US population has diabetes and another 26% have pre-diabetes. So, whether you know it or not, a significant portion of your employee population is living with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Open enrollment is the perfect time to think about ways you can help your employees live healthier day-to-day and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes. What most employees are trying to figure out is how to stay healthy and manage their blood sugars while at work. It’s easier than you might think to set them up for success and encourage healthy habits across your entire workforce. Here are a few quick ideas.
1. Provide healthy snack options
Most break rooms are full packaged vending machine food loaded with sugar and very few healthy options. Foods high in carbohydrates can make managing blood sugars harder and affect workplace productivity.
Providing healthy snacks options like nuts, fruit, and veggies offer great choices that not only add some fresh color and life to your breakroom, they’ll also provide those living with diabetes and pre-diabetes better tools to manage their blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Another thoughtful and potentially crisis-diverting thing you can do is to create strategically placed supplies of fast-acting glucose such as juice, non-diet soda, or glucose tabs for employees at risk for hypoglycemia. This concept was successfully implemented at a college campus in California.
2. Take a walk
Mark Zuckerberg does it, Barack Obama did it, we do it. We meet and walk. Whether it’s a phone call or a meeting with colleagues. If you don’t have a half-mile loop on the roof like Facebook does, encourage your employees to take meetings walking outside or in your office building. Everyone could use more time standing and less time sitting at desks.
3. Find fun ways to educate your workforce
Diabetes self-management education material can make a big difference in your organization. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes self-management education and support can lower costs by reducing hospital admissions and readmissions and reduce lifetime health care costs by lowering risks of diabetes complications. Simply including tips in general Human Resource communications with links to additional resources might be an easy first step for your organization.
Consider hosting a diabetes education expo or health fair to do screenings or boost general knowledge and awareness for your employee population. You could even throw a diabetes-friendly potluck and see what people come up with. Reach out to us if you need help!
4. Foster a safe environment
There are a few things people with diabetes need to do on a regular basis. Checking blood glucose levels, for example, or eating a small snack from time to time, or even taking an injection of insulin or other medication during their shift at work.
You can create a safe environment by having sharps disposal containers available and making sure that your employees know it is alright to eat a snack when they need to. You can also create emotional safety by letting your employee population know they won’t be negatively judged for taking care of their health.
5. People with diabetes are protected
People with diabetes are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If your workplace prevents people with diabetes from reasonable care actions, it’s not just dangerous for the person with diabetes, there may also be consequences for your organization.
Most people with diabetes will require just a few, simple things to do their job successfully. This employers resources guide from the American Diabetes Association might be helpful.
Not just for people with diabetes
As a leader at your workplace and a leader in your field, you set the tone. By taking a few simple steps, you’re showing that you care for the wellbeing of those who work with you. The nice thing about most of these tips? They’re great for everyone, diabetes or not.
If you’d like to learn more about how adding mySugr to your employee benefits package can help with improving the lives of your employees with diabetes, please contact us. With the mySugr Digital Diabetes Solution we can help you to improve outcomes and lower claim costs.