November 17, 2021

How Untreated Migraine Might Subvert Your Business Goals

Effects of Untreated Migraine

It’s not always recognized, but untreated migraine negatively affects business goals and costs companies money. Learn the simple steps you can take to address this problem.

Lost workdays and an unsupportive workplace culture not only add up to low productivity and decreased employee satisfaction. They also affect the bottom line. An easy way to keep your business on track is to address migraine at work and help employees with migraine get the treatment they need. Here’s what you need to know and how to make changes that benefit your employees and your business goals.

The Cost of Migraine

Migraine is more than a headache. It is a debilitating condition that affects 1 in 7 people worldwide. Its impact extends beyond employees who have migraine; it can negatively affect the entire business’ productivity and workplace culture.

Lost productivity due to migraine translates to a major cost for employers—in millions of dollars. Recent research created a model to estimate the impact of migraine on US-based employers. This model included annual migraine-associated indirect and direct costs to the employer. Using this model, organizations across education, manufacturing, retail, trade and entertainment showed estimated total annual costs of $20.8 to $180 million per company due to migraine.

How Migraine Affects Performance at Work

Migraine plays a significant role in an employee’s work performance. While some of the cost to employers is due to absences and short-term disability claims, a whopping 89% of the cost is attributed to presenteeism—those times when a person with migraine pushes through at work despite migraine symptoms and can’t perform as well as they’d like.

The stigma surrounding migraine can also impact a person with migraine’s productivity, job satisfaction and ability to collaborate with colleagues successfully. They may have to interact with coworkers who don’t believe or understand the extent of their migraine symptoms. Many people with migraine tend to go untreated due to the stigma.

People with migraine may have to miss work or show up to work but be less productive. At that point, their work performance—and the larger workplace—takes a hit, costing the company money and subverting business goals. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Employers can make changes that help alleviate these losses, offer support to employees with migraine and keep driving the business forward.

What can businesses do to help employees with migraine and meet business goals?

Whether reaching your business goals requires increasing productivity, boosting employee wellness or creating a more supportive work environment (or all three), there is a simple solution to help you get there. An employee education program is an incredibly effective way to help employees with migraine. It can also keep your company moving toward business goals. And it’s likely much faster and less expensive to put in place than other possible solutions.

Increase Employee Productivity

Research shows that establishing migraine education programs has a significant impact on productivity, resulting in an increase of as much as 29-36%. There is no cure for migraine. But medication, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques and avoiding triggers are some ways to manage symptoms. Education programs that help employees understand migraine and access treatment can ultimately reduce work absences and presenteeism, as well as boost employee effectiveness on days when they are at work and managing symptoms.

Promote Employee Wellness and Happiness

More than 50% of people with migraine go undiagnosed, and fewer than 50% consult a doctor. Migraine education can help people understand what migraine is, validate how debilitating it is and encourage people to talk to their doctor and seek treatment. Workplace education programs give employees the support they need to manage and treat their symptoms so they can feel better, more secure in their job and more productive at work.

Improve Workplace Environment

Education also goes a long way in reducing the stigma. It gives employees with migraine guidance for communicating with colleagues about their condition. It also helps other employees who don’t have migraine understand what their coworkers with migraine are going through. This type of communication and understanding fosters a more supportive workplace culture.

Certain accommodations in the workplace can help reduce stress or eliminate common environmental triggers. These changes don’t just help prevent migraine attacks and boost overall productivity. They also show an employer’s empathy and awareness for employees with migraine. That type of support contributes to employee job satisfaction, a sense of belonging and a more positive work environment.

Migraine has the potential to derail your company’s progress toward its business goals, but employers have the power to reduce these costs and support employees with migraine. Investing in an employee education program will pay off in a significant increase in productivity and an improved workplace environment.

If you’re interested in bringing the IHS GPAC Workplace Initiative to your workplace, learn more and find helpful tools to help you make a difference on the IHS GPAC website.


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