Supporting officers with invisible illnesses

What is an invisible illness?

There are many different illnesses that we are aware of and think we know how to spot. But did you know 96% of illness is invisible? These include many common illnesses like depression, arthritis, or heart disease. As they cannot be seen, people can be misunderstood and not receive the support they need, whether in the workplace or out in public.

What are the impacts?

People who live with an invisible illness can experience a reduced quality of life if they do not get much-needed support. As their illness is invisible, it can be difficult to communicate to others or be taken seriously when they are struggling. Therefore, the correct support, empathy and understanding must be in place to help them.

The effects of some invisible illnesses can have a negative impact on work-life if they are not understood by employers. Often with mental illness, for example, broken communication can lead to unexplained periods of absence, issues with performance and mishandling of such situations. Without the correct assistance and care, those with such illnesses could experience discrimination or impacts on their job security.

What support can be given

Out of the people suffering from a chronic invisible illness, 60% are between the typical workforce ages of 18 – 64, so it is likely this impacts people within your team. Employers should do everything possible to give all employees – with visible or invisible illnesses – equal opportunities within the company. Factors to consider include:

  • Trusting employees on what they say they are experiencing and the support they request
  • A non-judgemental approach
  • Leading with empathy and understanding
  • Open two-way communication, with an open door on listening to any grievances
  • Support offered to be structured, reviewed to ensure best fit, and delivered in a timely way

Any workplace adjustments should be implemented with the view of improving the wellbeing and culture within the entire team, making it a pleasant and accessible place to be. There should not be any expectation, attitude or thanks being required or an employee being deserving enough.

How we support our workers

At Expeditious Services, employee wellbeing is one of our top priorities, demonstrated by our value “Keep well” encompassing both physical and mental health.  During our onboarding process, we discuss any invisible illnesses experienced by candidates and ensure they are appropriately supported from day one of working with us.

As part of our commitment to security officer wellbeing, we also conduct integrity & welfare checks to ensure they have everything they need on-site to complete their shift comfortably (e.g. running water, kettle, bathroom). When officers are off sick, they have a return-to-work meeting to discuss if they require any adjustments to support their return to work. Of course, our People & Culture and Customer Success teams are always on hand to help with any other problems as they arise.

Invisible Disabilities Association – Click Here

To find out more on how we support our workers, read our blog on ‘The importance of mental health in the security industry.”