Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be challenging for employees diagnosed with the illness as they experience increased absenteeism, feelings of anxiousness, and negative career impact. Moreover, workplace relationships and a lack of understanding of the condition are anxiety-provoking. Utilising Maslow’s (1943) Needs Theory, this study evaluated the effect of IBD on the working lives of individuals diagnosed with the condition and the support they received. Employees from several organisations in a range of industries engaged with this qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven individuals who had received an official diagnosis of IBD and worked in paid employment for at least a year. Insiderness developed a rapport with participants as one of the researchers has lived experience of IBD due to being diagnosed with the condition. We identified five themes: physiological needs regarding symptoms and workplace obligations; safety needs relating to job security through HR policy concerning frequent absences; social (belonging) needs related to disclosure, management and employee attitudes, including their powerful effect; and finally, self-actualisation through the effect IBD can have on an individual’s career. We recommend that employers upskill management knowledge to aid employee inclusion, development and retention.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Maslow, disclosure, HR and workplace, qualitative, lived experience, disability, interviews, qualitative content analysis
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Recommended APA Citation
Vaughan, H., & Jolliffe, P. A. (2023). ‘Why it’s important to talk about our toilet needs in the workplace’ – Using Maslow’s Needs Theory to Shine a Light on Workers Living with IBD in the Workplace. The Qualitative Report, 28(3), 929-959. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2023.5102