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In work community with diabetes

Discussing diabetes can feel particularly challenging in the workplace. As a manager and colleague of someone with diabetes, there is much that can be done to ensure the workplace atmosphere allows for sharing about diabetes.

Studies have shown that many people find it difficult to talk about their diabetes in the workplace. Work-related stress associated with diabetes, partly for this reason, can often negatively affect glycemic control. For example, a person with diabetes might intentionally keep their blood sugar levels too high to avoid low blood sugar levels during the workday.

Research over the last 25 years has identified five areas that affect how someone with diabetes feels they cope with their condition at work.

These areas are:

  • The individual's ability to accept and cope

  • Support from healthcare professionals

  • A supportive workplace community

  • Flexibility of the work

  • Adequate knowledge and understanding of diabetes management among colleagues and within the workplace community

Therefore, employers can be seen to have a duty to create a work environment where an employee with diabetes can feel safe to be openly themselves, including their diabetes. By speaking openly about diabetes, a person with diabetes can themselves increase their employer's and workplace community's understanding of living with diabetes. An increase in understanding can help the person with diabetes to better manage their condition at work.