Many companies already suffered after they failed to help employees manage their chronic pain. This led to employees filing for numerous absences. Those who did went to work while in pain failed to be efficient and productive in their jobs. In short, a company’s failure to address employee pain can impact its bottom line.
Other Consequences of Poor Pain Management in the Workplace
Remember that this can happen to employees who are working in the office and are part of a remote team. There are times when pain is inevitable due to one’s line of work. The problem with chronic pain is that more consequences are involved aside from the company’s productivity levels going down.
For one, mismanaged pain can lead to higher healthcare costs. The reason is that many employees resort to non-pharmacological approaches to address pain. Others would go for uncoordinated management strategies to temporarily ease their pain.
Sometimes, we fail to give adequate attention to other aspects of pain. There are instances when pain can have a psycho-social aspect. This can include one’s moods, beliefs, and attitude, along with social factors that can impact a person’s behavior towards pain.
One can also consider the opioid epidemic as an after-effect of one’s inability to manage pain effectively. During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S., more than 93,000 Americans died from opioid overuse. We have to consider that many employees resort to abusing prescription opioids to continue working while in pain.
Employee Pain as a Leadership Issue
Many employers recognize pain as a serious threat to their brand’s bottom line. They, themselves, know just how debilitating pain can be. The problem is, many employers and business leaders show that even if they are also in pain, they tend to brush their symptoms off just to show their dedication to the company.
As a result, employees are more likely to follow in their footsteps. They feel obliged to work even if they are under extreme pain just to show they too are capable of working under pressure. This is one reason why many cases of presenteeism happen in the workplace.
Many leaders have little knowledge of how they can help employees manage pain in the workplace. They do intend on helping their employees better manage their pain. But without the right knowledge, they fail to help alleviate pain; thus, the cycle continues on a loop.
Helping Employees Manage Chronic Pain Better
Helping employees manage chronic pain can have a tremendous difference in your employee’s lives. This does more than just help manage their pain. This can also aid in boosting their productivity, happiness, and overall quality of life.
Here’s what you can do to start addressing chronic pain in the workplace:
1. Ensure Access to Physical and Mental Health Treatment
It makes sense to provide your employees with adequate access to resources that can help improve both their physical and mental health. Remember that pain can also be a physical symptom of stress. Giving your employees access to integrated pain management solutions will help them address their type of pain accordingly.
2. Encourage Self-care
Your company may have already invested in employee education and self-care training. But if company leaders fail to exercise their own rights to self-care, then the chances of employees doing the same will be slim. Encourage self-care among employees by showing them that even their leaders and managers are exercising self-care.
3. Offer Broad Benefits to Address Different Health Conditions
Chronic pain can influence one’s productivity at work, mental health, and ability to live a satisfying life. It can lead to depression, substance abuse, and even their ability to make sound decisions while working. You can unlock their productivity, health, and happiness by offering broad benefits for physical, behavioral, and mental health support in the workplace.
4. Revisit Work Policies to Promote Ergonomics
Employees working from home are often the ones setting up their workstations. Team leaders must remind their staff to embrace healthy habits and setting up ergonomic workstations to help avoid chronic pain. One can do this by encouraging employees to join a virtual meeting with an ergonomist.
5. Encourage Employees to Be More Open About Their Health
There is a big difference between forcing employees to spill their health condition and telling them to let you know about their health struggles. Encourage them to be more open and ask for your help in manage chronic pain. You, in return, can resort to helping them improve their workspace, adjust their schedule, or even take leaves as necessary.
Too many companies failed to grow due to their negligence on employee’s chronic pain. You still have time to make the necessary changes to help your employees thrive. You can start by considering this list in helping your staff better address their pain issues.