How HR Can Improve Workplace Inclusivity



Millions of workers have long-term illnesses, and their needs are often forgotten.

A study from the University of Melbourne showed that individuals with long-term illnesses affect the Australian workforce, with over 20 million people, or 63% of workers, dealing with these conditions. Researchers found a link between stressful situations at work and long-term health problems, affecting people with musculoskeletal illnesses, anxiety, and depression.

73% of those who answered the survey think that their jobs are partly to blame for their long-term illnesses, and almost 15% think that their jobs are the only reason they have these diseases.This fits with data from Safe Work Australia that shows a rise in serious workers’ compensation claims linked to health problems, especially mental health problems.

Moreover, the Conversation published an article by Peter Ghin, Research Fellow, Future of Work Lab, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, and Susuan Ainsworth, Professor of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne. In it, they suggest a number of proactive steps that employers can take to help employees who are dealing with chronic illnesses.

Related link: 3 Ways to Fight Bias and Discrimination During Job Search

To begin, having honest and caring conversations with employees who are chronically ill about possible changes to their work schedules, delegating tasks, or acceptable accommodations is important for improving productivity and making sure that employees can do their best.

Another thing that employers should do is recognize and simplify the paperwork needed to grant fair requests, like flexible work time. By doing this, employers build trust and support among their workers, making the workplace a place where everyone feels appreciated and welcome.

Lastly, it’s important to train managers the right way. Giving managers the right training helps them understand that helping workers who are chronically ill isn’t about giving them special treatment, but about making sure they can work together well even though their roles have changed. This method makes sure that managers know how to make the workplace welcoming and helpful for all workers, no matter what health condition they have.

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