Key techniques for beating diabetes in the workplace
Published by: LifeWorks,
More people than ever are suffering from Diabetes. In the UK, which held Diabetes Week from June 11-17, the condition affects nearly 4.6 million people. Similarly, in the US, over nine percent of the population are affected.
However, the most recent research from Diabetes UK found that a staggering 90 percent of people living with diabetes have Type 2, which is largely preventable. But what’s shocking is that approximately 12.3 million UK residents are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes and prediabetes are important topics to address in the workplace. Not only does talking about it help destigmatize the disease, but also it raises awareness about preventative measures.
You can help educate your employees and encourage them to make healthy lifestyle choices to better combat the risk of diabetes and prediabetes:
Physical activity and fitness should be a main area of focus for any well-being strategy. When you’re addressing any employee health concerns, exercise plays a big part in disease prevention and management. In terms of those who have prediabetes, exercise is key because it lowers blood glucose levels and decreases body fat. Excess weight, especially in the belly area, raises the risk factor.
Tip: It’s difficult for many people to adhere to an exercise routine. They need to focus on two things: the reason they’re exercising and how to stay consistent.
One way to motivate your prediabetic employees and hold them accountable to their routine is by hosting daily check-ins. Every day, call for team huddles for all employees to share their progress.
Aside from these check-ins, you should also encourage employees to set aside time in their workday to exercise. Even if it’s just scheduled team walks, a little movement goes a long way. Plus, when you schedule exercise into the day, it shows that you’re making employee health and well-being a top priority.
People who manage to keep their weight in check significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes. This is why weight loss and weight management are even more important to those with prediabetes.
One of the best ways to encourage employees to lose weight is by hosting weight management challenges. But be strategic in how you promote these competitions.
Our December 2017 survey found that word choice matters. For example, employees found the term ‘weight management’ more motivating and appealing than ‘weight loss.’
Tip: Create a theme for your weight management program and promote any prizes they’re able to win. Tailor your messaging in a way that highlights how weight loss is important in disease prevention for conditions like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Also, encourage employees to track their daily habits that contribute to weight loss, like eating at a calorie deficiency, getting 30 minutes of exercise, and drinking enough water. This keeps them engaged with their personal weight loss plan.
More and more research is showing the positive impact consistent, high-quality sleep has on overall well-being. But sleep hygiene is more than just a trendy employee health topic — it’s one of the most important wellness practices to encourage.
If your prediabetic employees aren’t sleeping well, they will experience many setbacks in preventing advancement of the disease. One of the most significant issues they’ll run into is struggling to lose weight.
Tip: Hire a sleep expert to host an open discussion, give recommendations and help employees establish a sleep routine that helps them get better quality rest.
You can also host sleep challenges where employees track sleep habits and you can encourage those who make the most significant progress with prizes.
If possible, give your employees a space in the office to decompress. According to our December 2017 survey, employees rank a relaxation room as a top well-being initiative they’d be interested in.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Create a quiet, dark area in your office that is comfortable. Employees can use this area to nap or clear their head with relaxation and mindfulness exercises, such as meditation.
The mental state of employees with prediabetes is crucial to whether or not they succeed in disease prevention. If employees give up or don’t believe changes can help, they won’t make progress.
Tip: Incorporate mindfulness and self-reflection when you’re addressing employee health conditions like prediabetes. Encourage employees to track their mood as they adopt these healthy lifestyle changes.
In order to keep them focused and accountable, invite employees to start support groups, like a diabetes prevention group. They can meet regularly to share their experiences and insights they learn as they adopt healthier habits.
When employees see their peers succeed and get healthier, they’ll believe in themselves and feel more motivated.
Also, if they’re struggling with related mental health issues, such as eating disorders or anxiety, they likely need professional treatment. Promote your Employee Assistance (EAP) offerings, like mental health counselling, so they are well equipped when it comes to tackling and preventing diabetes.