How Best to Support Employees with Health Conditions and Disabilities

by heatfeed

Inclusivity and equality in the professional environment are more talked about than they have ever been. This is not a bad thing because it means employers are focusing on all the ways they can support a wider range of people to work efficiently and feel safe in their roles too.

Everyone with the right skills deserves an equal opportunity to thrive and find professional success, after all, and this should be kept at the heart of any business. This guide has some clear strategies for supporting a range of health conditions and disabilities. 

Equal Hiring Protocol

The first step is to create and implement an equal hiring protocol. The law is clear, there should be no discrimination against people with disabilities in any way and equal opportunities should be presented across the board.

This could mean ensuring a degree of withheld information in the hiring process so that management has no room to discriminate against any candidate. It can also look like finding ways to create flexibility within roles for disabled persons or those with chronic health conditions to contribute and participate too. 

Environmental Adjustments

Every workspace, regardless of whether it is an office or a warehouse, should have impactful adaptations and adjustments to create an inclusive environment. There are lots of ways this can be put into action from ensuring accessible points of entry for mobility restrictions and wheelchair users to installing specific bathrooms.

These environmental adjustments should always focus on how to make workspaces supportive and ensure people are not restricted or held back in any way when it comes to reaching their professional potential. 

Anti-Bullying Policies

There is a pressing need for anti-bullying and anti-harassment action. While it is rarer and rarer, these types of things do happen and when bullying starts it is not long before it becomes a serious issue.

Those with disabilities or other types of health concerns deserve to be treated fairly by every single fellow team member and attend work in a space that does not make them feel threatened or degraded in any way. If you see it or hear about it, take action and make consequences. 

Employee Benefit Programs

Any company is capable of implementing a scheme to offer allowances for specific health products for all of its workers. This level of support can change lives and make professional experiences so much easier for anyone who is living with a continuous need for medical intervention or assistance. These programs are designed to be there for people who need it the most, and they are always a welcome bonus benefit in any role. 

Provide In-House Support

Sometimes, the oldest tricks in the book are the best ones and there is nothing that could ever replace in-house support when it is done properly. Having a safe space for those with disabilities or health conditions is essential.

They may need more downtime than other employees, or an HR team who understands the complex challenges a team member may face on any given day. With things like this put into action, everyone will feel better supported and more capable of fulfilling their professional obligation so that they can be their best, expert selves. 

Be Flexible 

It is beneficial to afford a degree of flexibility. There will often be times when sick days are needed or a schedule and commitment have to be worked around vital appointments. Making space for this means employees do not feel discriminated against for the things they cannot control, and they are able to meet KPI objectives despite the external organizational challenges they may be facing. It is difficult to manage work around ongoing medical care, and sufficient adjustments are not unreasonable requests. 

Practice What You Preach 

If you want a team to be supportive of one another, and an environment to feel inclusive, management must lead the example. Put training in place and ensure that the workplace culture is built around enablement and understanding. 

Create a Supportive Return to Work

Accepting that there may be periods of absence is important. Whether it is managed through a job share or delegated obligations, there should always be a safe space to come back to when an employee is ready to return to their position.

Facilitate a supportive return to work by ensuring there is no perceived judgment or resentment, and that there is always financial support in place where appropriate. Communication is key here, and it will help both sides of the professional equation to move in the right direction. 

Supporting employees with a disability or chronic health condition is an essential task for any company to undertake. There are lots of ways to put this into action, and it will continue to be a key focus in the future.