Rheumatoid Arthritis In the Workplace

NRAS Publish UK Wide Survey

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society recently published their UK wide survey of Adults with rheumatoid arthritis and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis on the impact of their disease on work.   As Professor Karen Walker-Bone states in the foreword ‘employers and managers can make an enormous difference to work accessibility by being supportive of, and flexible with, their employees’.  This doesn’t need to be expensive and investment in solutions will quickly provide an ROI, as well as creating loyal and hard-working employees when they feel looked after.  Reading the case studies emphasises just how important this is https://www.nras.org.uk/).

As the report states, supporting anyone with a health challenge to stay in work, through simple changes and providing help and support is hugely beneficial to all concerned and benefits society as a whole.  I have seen many arthritis sufferers struggle for years to stay comfortable whilst at work, but education and awareness to simple solutions are highly effective in easing discomfort levels.  The same is true for all those suffering long and short term health issues, including all forms of arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia etc.

At Corrigo Design we have had the privilege of helping a huge variety of issues with our Advanced workstation assessments.  Measures include an assessment of their workstation and chair, to ensure it is all optimised to reduce and prevent any build up of pain, incorporating regular breaks and active working, consideration of working schedule and tasks (including allowing for medical appointments and recovery from medical interventions).  We explore all ways to reduce pain, depression and anxiety as these all effect each other  and work with our clients to explore all other avenues to address the issue at its core, including exercise, nutrition, rest requirements and signpost to other specialist support services as all complex conditions require a multi disciplinary approach.

The NRAS report states that early intervention and support is essential following diagnosis to prevent the disease or issue potentially leading to job loss.  Reported advantages of continuing to work are:

  • Financial security
  • Sense of purpose and achievement
  • Reasonable adjustments
  • Understanding employer
  • Accessible and comfortable working environment

For those with RA, this would include systems in place for managing fatigue, pain and feeling supported.  It is important to note that managing stress at work will be key as they will probably already dealing with enough stress managing their condition in their private lives.

Visit www.nras.or.g.uk for more information