In March of 2019, dQ&A released a report that highlighted the loss of productivity in the lives of people with diabetes
Having dedicated themselves for over 10 years now to the amplification of patient voices in the field of diabetes research, dQ&A’s latest report helps to highlight the importance of offering diabetes management solutions as part of an employers overall open enrollment strategy. This report was focused not only on the time away from work but also on the reduced productivity as outlined below.
Specifically, measurable productivity was shown to have dropped as much as 23% for people with type 1 diabetes, with a coinciding loss of anywhere from 11% up to as high as 19% for those managing type 2 diabetes.
What contributes to such a drop in productivity for people with diabetes? Well, that was the $90 billion-dollar, question according to the CDC, who looked at factors like absenteeism, productivity drops while at work, and even early disability or mortality rates attributed to complications of diabetes management.
Combine that with the staggering statistic that while 6 out of every 10 adults are estimated to have a chronic condition, diabetes and the management of diabetes has become one of the most expensive conditions affecting the U.S. with a very tangible price tag of over $300 billion.
For employers, the proactive choice to offer employees assistance in managing diabetes is not only altruistic, but now pragmatic. With the very real necessities of keeping healthy while living with diabetes, employers can expect more than 5 days of extra work loss per employee. And that doesn’t include the dip in efficient work days due to fatigue, depression, and lack of focus that blood sugar instabilities can cause.
Our own Scott K. Johnson ran a social media Q-n-A about the impact diabetes has on work efficiency. Many people responded with the struggle to juggle their work requirements during periods of blood sugar instability.
“I tend to be more forgetful and have trouble multitasking when experiencing high blood glucose, which has the potential to affect work performance as a corporate accountant, which erodes confidence in my abilities.” – Rachel F.
“Low episodes can be extremely discouraging if not downright embarrassing…I’ve had a coworker or two budge me to see if I can stay awake. It’s not a boring meeting, It’s a struggle with blood sugar levels.” – Jim C.
“Taking time off has never been an issue, but trying to work around a low is a huge pain. As is getting people to understand the importance of stopping to treat it” – Craig L.
“Since diabetes management is all about timing, it’s nearly impossible to focus on my job when I’m chasing high or low blood sugars…” – Amy D.
“I lost an entire month of focus and productivity at work when my therapy changed. I had high blood sugars for weeks straight and my brainpower was nonexistent. When it’s taking all my brainpower to keep myself alive - everything suffers.” – Courtney M.
If not the actual time invested in monitoring and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, it’s the mental and emotional burden of putting in a solid 40+ hour work-week while juggling the very real challenges of necessary doctor visits, never-ending insurance paperwork, constant stream of medical billing issues, and more.
“Part of the reason I don’t go to my endocrinologist more often is that I have to take time off of work to do so!” – Karen M.
“It feels unprofessional to leave meetings to get juice when I'm low or go to the bathroom when I'm high. I also can't focus when I'm high and just want to sleep.” – Carrie H.
“It is infinitesimally more challenging to work around and through the cacophony of diabetic mental machinations such as; what is my blood glucose now…when was the last time I ate…how much insulin will I need for the coffee I so desperately want…I need to let someone know I'll be a little late tomorrow from my endo appointment and more.” – Alene M.
“Spent an hour on the phone this morning at work instead of working. Told my boss why I was so upset. I know they don’t know what my life and disease are like but I’m concerned how little work I got done today.” – Amy G.
With statements like this pouring in, it’s easy to see how the US workforce can be facing a nearly $90 billion-dollar loss due to reduced productivity.
It is awfully hard to work when your pancreas doesn't.
The rigorous effort and attention required to manage diabetes well can make competing priorities, like working, difficult to balance for people with diabetes. But herein lies the incredible opportunity for employers to provide quality healthcare, wellness programs, and adjunct services for their most important resource…their people.
By focusing on tools to simplify life, like the mySugr diabetes solution, employers can contribute to employee health by integrating medical devices to create a more comprehensive self-management outlet for their diabetic community. This can become a stepping stone to better dialogue with employees and less workplace stress which, in turn, can have a positive impact on the battle with the depression a chronic illness often brings.
All of this in concert can help stem the tide of lost resources and potentially save over $7,000.00 per employee/per year. So now, not only is mySugr working to make diabetes suck less for employees, mySugr is now providing tangible value-added services to help diabetes-related costs suck less for employers too!
Contact us for a 15-minute educational Zoom session on how mySugr can benefit your employees during open enrollment.