Life with psoriasis: In the workplace

In the workplace

Working with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can be challenging. You may need to take time off for doctor appointments or ask for changes to your work environment. It’s important to understand your disease, your rights and the resources available to you.

  • Meet with your manager. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor at a time when neither of you is under pressure. Describe how your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may affect how you do your job. Talk about doctor’s appointments—how they may affect your work and how you plan to schedule them to minimize the effect on work. Discuss assistive devices—tools and techniques—that can help you do your job. Keep in mind that your employer may not be required to purchase expensive equipment for you. The goal is to find ways to resolve the problem that will benefit the company, your co-workers and yourself.
  • Make your workspace comfortable. Be prepared to offer suggestions for possible changes, such as using assistive devices. For example, Sarah Truman, who has psoriatic arthritis, works at a desk most of the day. Good posture and an ergonomically correct workspace helps minimize the strain on her joints. Her employer also gave her a special chair and a headset. Chances are any changes you may need will not cost much. Tax deductions and/or tax credits may be available to certain employers who provide accommodations and/or jobs for people with disabilities.
  • Request accommodations. Come up with alternate ways to perform routine work tasks. Search for assistive devices that can help. Truman often must put pen to paper for her job. She uses a writing bird to help her write on the days her hands do not work. Because typing is much easier for her, she tries to do as much as she can electronically. She created electronic versions of forms and files.
  • Get organized. Consider scheduling your doctor’s visits first thing in the morning or toward the end of the day. This helps reduce the amount of time you will miss from work. If you have several upcoming doctor visits or need to go in for tests, consider taking the day off and scheduling all your visits that day, Truman said. If you take several medications during the day, keep a pill organizer in your desk. That way you have a backup supply at the office in case you forget to bring your pills to work.

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