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What impact can serious health conditions have on my business?

  • Blog
  • 28 December 2016

Running or being a part of a business can take a physical and mental toll on a person’s health.

Suffering with a serious health condition can have a huge impact on an employer, their ability to work and, ultimately, their business. We explain the ways serious health conditions can impact your staff, your business, and what help is available.

What impact can serious health conditions have on my business?

What qualifies as a serious health condition?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 defines a serious medical condition as an illness, injury or condition that involves any of the following elements:

  • An overnight, inpatient stay in a hospital
  • An inability to carry out regular daily activities for more than three consecutive days
  • Multiple treatments or continuing treatments from a healthcare provider
  • Periodic incapacity, such as because of pregnancy
  • Chronic conditions, including depression or diabetes
  • Permanent incapacity, as the result of a condition that doesn’t respond to treatment such as Alzheimer’s
  • Conditions requiring restorative surgery, such as surgeries following a car accident
  • Conditions that require direct medical intervention such as cancer

These issues all tend to involve lengthy treatment and recovery times with frequent appointments which, while being important and necessary, can be disruptive to a business.

Impact on staff

A health issue can often be a concern for staff. Dealing with a health problem can be stressful and impact on them in a number of ways.

For instance, a staff member may have less time at work due to treatments and appointments. In some cases, treatments might be carried out on an inpatient basis, requiring a hospital stay and more time out of work.

An illness or injury can prevent a staff member from carrying out their role as effectively as usual. In manual roles this can be extremely problematic due to the health and safety concerns it could create.

This could mean that a staff member’s role needs to change. For example, it could become more administrative, or it could require their role within a company to change in order to accommodate their condition.

In the event of a serious long-term condition, a staff member might leave a company in order to fully focus on their treatment and recovery. In some cases, it could mean they have to go into long-term care to help them manage their condition, which would keep them from working.

It is important that staff are healthy and happy. Having the right policies in place, regarding sickness and leave, won’t help with recovery. It can, however, go some way in helping reassure staff that you have their well-being in mind, during what can be a difficult time for them.

Impact on the business

Staff that have medical conditions to deal with not only impacts on them, but can also have an effect on the day-to-day running of the business they work.

Prolonged illnesses and medical issues can take staff out of work for lengthy periods of time. This can be disruptive to a workflow and hamper their productivity. Dealing with this, on top of a medical problem, can bring extra stress that can hinder recovery. As can working to a set deadline for a return to work – a staggered or phased approach to returning to work could instead be more beneficial to staff.

As we’ve already mentioned, staff roles might need to be reassessed as a result of a medical condition. Or, in extreme cases, staff members may leave the business, meaning you need to undergo the possibly lengthy and expensive process of finding a replacement.

In order to accommodate staff with a medical condition you might need to make changes to your working environment.

This could mean improving the accessibility in your building, or adjusting a staff member’s working patterns to take into consideration their needs. You might have to readdress what their working duties are to accommodate any restrictions in their ability. Or you might have to overcome any health and safety issues that arise, following their diagnosis with a particular medical condition.

What help is available?

Medical issues are often coupled with a lot of stress and anxiety. This can really hamper patient treatment and recovery.

Aside from gaining medical help, either privately or via the NHS, having access to practical information and emotional support can be a huge help.

FSB members have access to our FSB Care service. This service provides members with access to reassurance, support and advice, including:

  • Calls with a specialist nurse
  • Counselling support
  • Complimentary therapies
  • Information on supportive charities and self-help
  • Information on treatments and operations

Having access to reassurance and advice can help ease anxiety and stress, regarding medical issues. FSB Care covers a range of serious health conditions, including stress and depression and has no pre-existing health exclusions.

As an FSB member you’re able to add family or staff members to the service as needed for a one-off flat fee. This enables you to have peace of mind knowing additional support is available when you need it.

To find out more about how to handle different medical issues or how FSB care can help support your business when dealing with a medical problem, visit our FSB Care page or get in touch with a member of the team.

FSB Care from FSB

FSB members with a serious health condition have free access to a personal nurse adviser - providing practical information and emotional support.

Find out more