Disability and Work
If you have a health condition or you have a disability and work, chances are your confidence has taken a bit of a knock – especially if it was a condition that had a sudden onset. We have worked with many people who have health conditions, and want to share with you the benefits for any employer of recruiting and working with the person to retain staff with a long term condition. This will help you when you go for an interview and when applying for jobs – focus on what you’re offering not on the disability or health condition!
Many people who suffer health issues are reluctant to declare this to their employer, especially if they have a mental health condition. Many fear that if their employer were to find out that this would jeopardize their position. I encourage my clients to tell their employer as soon as possible, at application stage or as soon as they are aware of it themselves. If you don’t tell your employer you are denying them the opportunity to provide additional support to help you in your role.
Health can impact on your work in many ways. For example you might need to take time off when your health condition flares up, or for routine appointments. Your health condition may result in inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. Your employer has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure you are able to do your role. With a little bit of support many people with disabilities can live very full and productive lives, without being a burden on the state, and also enriching those people around them. It might be that you need someone to make you aware when you display a certain behaviour, and once this is highlighted you are able to modify this. It may be that you need adaptations to your workplace.
So why should an employer do this for you? Most of the people I have worked with in the past with a health condition feel like they aren’t good enough to be in work, so are very motivated once offered an opportunity. People with health conditions tend to be more loyal to an employer who makes adjustments as they are worried that no-one else will give them a chance. Disabled workers are great problem solvers – after all if you’re a woman and you can’t raise your arms above shoulder height, you find many alternative ways to fasten your bra. If you struggle to remember appointments, with a bit of help with some strategies, many brain injury survivors are more reliable that the general population as they work so hard to over compensate for their memory which they are very aware lets them down every day!
Every time I work with a client who has a health condition, I feel inspired by their determination to overcome whatever issues it is that is holding them back. Rather than thinking they aren’t as good as most people because they have things they can’t do, I am inspired at how they overcome everyday tasks that most of us don’t even think about.
Of course every health condition is as individual as the person who endures it, it can be mild, moderate or debilitating. Someone with a health condition should aim to be realistic in their approach to work. There isn’t any benefit to anyone if an employee works so hard to overcome a health condition, only for the result to be that they end up being very ill for a protracted time period. I know that disability and work are not incompatible – the way forward is to look at the solutions and find a way that works. If everyone works together that should solve the problem. There is always Access to Work to help too.
For further help and individual support with health conditions and work, contact Kelly on 07881294894 or email Kelly@cygnetnortheast.com. If you’d prefer you can use our contact form