Struggling to Work with Rheumatoid Arthritis? What Your Employer Should Know

September 10, 2019 4:32 pm

Rheumatoid arthritis is a fairly common disease that can change your life significantly. It’s important that you keep on top of this condition in order to alleviate certain symptoms and help to stay overall healthy. You might not always feel as if your arthritis will hinder your activities, although the disease is known to come and go with occasional flare-ups which are difficult to predict. Of course, with treatment, you can prevent yourself from suffering from too many flare-ups, but due to the unpredictable and physically taxing nature of the disease, it is important that you let your employer know the main points listed here.

Your Abilities

Although many people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, only you can know what your limits and abilities are. Swollen and stiff joints can make a lot of everyday activities much harder to complete, and your employer needs to know how to respond to these changes. You might feel as if you should be able to carry on as usual, but to prevent further harm to yourself, you should be clear and honest about what you can and can’t do during a flare-up.

Environment Changes

If you have been living with rheumatoid arthritis for a while, you may have already made improvements to your home to make frequent and necessary tasks easier. Click here for more information on how to renovate your home that will take into consideration your rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is just as important to make suitable changes to your work environment.

By letting your employer know in what ways you are affected by your arthritis, they will be better able to provide alternatives and make changes within your work environment to help you continue to work. If you have been recommended by your GP to stay active in order to keep your joints mobile, for example, your employer might provide you with a specialist desk, an ergonomic chair, or other helpful equipment.

Future Appointments

An important part of keeping on top of your rheumatoid arthritis is to follow your GP’s instructions surrounding your medication and pain relief. As with any ongoing medical condition, you’ll likely be required to attend various appointments throughout the year in order to review your illness and the available treatments. Inform your employer of these appointments as soon as you receive them – this way you will be able to take time off work without disrupting anyone.

Important Contacts

Have a list of relevant contacts should you require assistance. If you feel comfortable doing so, provide your employer with the contact details of people who can support you in case of an illness-related incident occurring at work.


You aren’t obliged to tell your co-workers about your arthritis unless you want to. Let your employer know whether or not you are happy for them to inform their other employees about your condition. Sometimes a colleague might be able to offer assistance that they might not have thought to offer before they knew about your disease. Of course, if you would rather not disclose your medical information to anyone else, tell your employer that you would prefer for it to remain private.

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