When an employee approaches you to tell you that they have a problem with migraines and it can affect their work it might seem a bit daunting. As an employer you are responsible for the health of your employees while they are at work, and ensuring that any disability which they might have (this could be conditions such as dyslexia, impaired hearing or migraine, as well as things like needing to use a wheelchair) is catered for and they are not put at a disadvantage because of their ailment. So what should you be doing if an employee says that they suffer from migraines?
Primarily you need to be understanding. Stress is a huge factor in the onset of migraine attacks, and if an employee is worried about how others will react if they get an attack, they may well find their attacks becoming more frequent and severe as a result – this can become an increasingly vicious cycle. This damages productivity and morale and doesn’t do anyone any good.
Next, try to identify things that could be changed or improved in order to decrease the likelihood of an attack. There is a huge range of triggers that can cause someone to have a migraine and everyone’s will be slightly different. However, some commonly cited factors are harsh lights, varying temperatures, dehydration and strong smells. There are several simple things that can be done to help avoid these triggers.
For lighting it is important to ensure that fluorescent lighting is well maintained to minimise flickering and that lights are fitted with a diffuser that imitates natural daylight. A migrainer might also prefer to switch off fluorescent lights near them and instead use a lamp with a special “daylight” bulb at their desk. Fitting adjustable blinds to windows might also be a good idea, as is avoiding plain white walls or highly polished surfaces that will cause glare. For computer based work regular breaks will be a good idea, as is using flat screen computers that are positioned to avoid any light reflection and lowering the screen brightness.
Maintaining a steady climate is vital as well. Make sure that there is good ventilation and keep the temperature at around 22°C (this may be hotter or colder depending on the employee but should not be below 16°C). However, make sure that the air being circulated isn’t dry and stale. Keeping a good level of humidity is very important too. Hanging a thermometer and humidity gauge on the wall will help you to keep track.
In terms of dehydration and strong smells these can be issues can be addressed even more easily. Install a water station and make sure that the cleaners are using products in the office that do not have heavy scents in them. Avoid harsh bleaches and opt for a range of natural based cleaning products instead.
Some other things to consider are a quiet room that can be darkened where migrainers can retreat to if an attack strikes, engaging flexible working hours, potentially working from home sometimes, and ensuring that meal breaks aren’t missed as a lack of food can trigger an attack.
These are good guidelines for reducing migraine impact in general but each migraine sufferer will be different so it’s important to discuss what would be most helpful to them. The main thing to keep hold of is that communication is key.
DISCLAIMER – When using any medication, always read the label and make sure you keep all medicines out of reach of children. The information supplied within this online resource is brought to you by Imigran Recovery Tablets (contains sumatriptan) for migraine relief, from a variety of author sources including health care professionals, lifestyle experts and the general public. None of the published authors endorse any brands.