Despite being the third most common disease in the world, one of the most disabling lifetime conditions and affecting an estimated one in seven people worldwide. Awareness and understanding of migraines remain low.

It is highly likely that someone in every office is a sufferer and the ‘Mindful of Migraine Workplaces’ campaign run by the Migraine Trust aims to raise awareness of this debilitating condition and show employers how they can make adjustments to improve the working conditions for sufferers.

Recent research by the Work Foundation found that a total of 86 million workdays are lost every year through migraine-related work absenteeism and presenteeism, (where people work while they are ill). It found that this was costing the UK economy almost £8.8 billion a year.

The office isn’t a great place for migraine sufferers as many of the common triggers, are found at work.  Stress, computer screens, change of routine, poor diet and dehydration to name but a few.  Stress is one of the key triggers with many people suffering from what is known as ‘weekend headaches’ when, after a busy and stressful week at work, an individual might experience a migraine at the weekend when they are more relaxed.

So, what can employers do to help?

The full Migraine: Help at work tool kit can be downloaded here, but to summarise the Migraine Trust suggests the following:

  1. Be aware of the high numbers of people who get migraine, that it is very common and that there is a strong possibility that someone they employ might get migraine.
  2. Have an understanding that it is a complex neurological condition and that people can experience migraine very differently.
  3. Make reasonable adjustments once they become aware that they have an employee who gets migraine, such as considering flexible working practices and looking at how their physical environment can be adjusted to help prevent the triggering of a migraine.

Here at Joyful Living, we offer a range of wellbeing workshops that focus on many of the migraine triggers, from improving sleep, nutrition and posture to stress management and resilience. Please do get in touch if we can be of help with any employee wellbeing needs.