Crohn’s Disease is difficult to live with in any circumstance, but it is especially challenging for working adults. From dietary restrictions to awkward trips to the restroom, getting through a normal day on the job can seem next to impossible. Luckily, there are some simple adjustments you can make to improve your work experience and minimize interruptions. Here are some tips for dealing with Crohn’s symptoms in the workplace.
Inform Your Manager or Employer about Your Condition
No one wants to talk about intestinal issues at work, but doing so could make a world of difference for you. By talking to your manager or employer about your condition, you can discuss accommodations that would increase your productivity and improve your work environment. For example, you may request an office near the restrooms if your symptoms cause you to take frequent bathroom breaks. If you cannot eat large meals during the day, you may ask for multiple “snack breaks” instead of one long lunch break. Every person’s Crohn’s symptoms are a little different, so you will need to find adaptations that best suit your needs.
Customize Your Workspace
If your workplace is alright with it, put some time into customizing your work area to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Most work environments, even big corporations, have no problem with employees making their desks comfortable for them to work. After all, trying to do work when you’re in discomfort is near impossible. Even something like an exercise ball to replace your desk chair, or desktop mini refrigerators to keep your own food in can make all the difference.
Cross Train to Work in Other Areas of the Office
Business owners love having versatile employees because they know their departments are covered no matter what. Use this to your advantage and request cross training in other departments. If you are experiencing a flair-up, you could request to work in a light-duty position so you can still be a valuable asset to the team. If you have already talked to your supervisor about your condition like we mentioned above, your team leader will most likely give you the flexibility you need without any trouble.
Schedule Time Off for Treatments Well in Advance (If Applicable)
If your Crohn’s Disease treatment requires you to visit your doctor or go to a hospital for infusions, notify your workplace of that well in advance. That way, they can schedule time off without impacting the rest of the staff members. If your at-home treatments leave you feeling groggy, lethargic, or worn out, you may request those days off. Ask your employer if there are forms your doctor needs to fill out describing your treatment plan so your scheduling can remain in compliance with company protocol.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress triggers a number of bad side effects in your body, from weight fluctuations to sleep deprivation and more. Combine this with your Crohn’s Disease symptoms, and you have a recipe for disaster. You may not be able to fully eliminate stress at work, but do what you can do reduce it. When you get home, put all work thoughts aside and use the night to relax with your family. If you’re well-rested, well-fed, and well-minded, you can tackle anything that comes your way.