If you’ve been balancing your career and your condition for a while, you’ll likely be familiar with some of the challenges that come with maintaining comfort at work.
Taking comfort breaks can be uncomfortable and stressful, and arthritis can remove the social aspect from enjoying refreshments with colleagues and instead make it an isolating experience.
When it comes to taking a comfort break at work, some of the obstacles you might face include:
- Battling through multiple sets of doors to access the WC (often at least one door will have an automatic closing device, which can make it heavy to open)
- Struggling to move comfortably in small cubicle spaces, with narrow doors and no room for bags or coats
- Facing a long walk to the toilet (in some workplaces, especially manufacturing, the toilet can be a reasonable distance from the workstation)
- Struggling with stiff locks on bathroom doors, or having to use the facilities in a cubicle that doesn’t lock
- Having to use public toilets (if travelling with work)
- Having to use facilities that haven’t been designed with accessibility in mind (for example, the toilet seat is too high/low, the flushing mechanism is awkward to reach or stiff to use, the taps and wash basin aren’t at an accessible height, or are stiff and difficult to operate)
If you’re struggling with accessibility in and around your workplace, you should begin by raising the issue with your employer.
Be sure to highlight the specific areas/facilities that are presenting a challenge and highlight any potential solutions that could rectify the issue.
As someone living with a disabling health condition, you are protected under the Equality Act 2010, and your employer has a duty of care to ensure you have equal access to necessary equipment and services within the workplace, including toilet facilities.
Your employer is also required by law to make reasonable adjustments where possible that will allow you to work comfortably and efficiently.