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How to Manage Work and MS

By Daryl H. Bryant (427 words)
Posted in Living with MS on March 28, 2018

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How to Manage Work and MS

One of the scariest things for people diagnosed with MS is how the disease will affect their work. From choosing whether to disclose your MS to your employer to determining if any accommodations need to be made, I’ve compiled some helpful ideas to show you how to manage work and MS.

Should I Tell My Boss I Have MS?

Whether or not you should tell your boss about your MS is one of the first decisions you have to make when you receive your diagnosis. There are no rules that require you to share your health information with your employer, so if you aren’t ready, don’t feel pressured to do so. However, if you find that you need some accommodations in order to perform your job successfully, you will need to have a discussion with your employer about your health and the accommodations you need. Remember that you have a right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace so don’t settle for status quo if you need some minor changes to perform your job duties. Learn more about accommodations from the Job Accommodations Network.

How to Manage Work and MS

Jobs are demanding and stressful, but working with MS just adds to the toll. The three main MS symptoms that affect job productivity include fatigue, mobility issues, and cognitive impairment (brain fog, memory issues, etc.). Bundling tasks is just one way of decreasing MS fatigue at work. For example, if you need to visit with multiple co-workers throughout the day, make all of your stops on a single round rather than darting back and forth all day. For mobility issues, accommodations can usually be made to help you get around more easily. Cognitive impairment can be a major challenge. Organize your tasks so that you work on those that require the most brain power when you are at your sharpest - usually the morning. Then, work on tasks requiring less attention later in the day. Learn more about reducing MS related stress at work.

Can You Work With MS?

The majority of people who have MS are able to continue working, but if your symptoms are standing in the way of completing tasks successfully - even after reasonable accommodations have been made, it may be time to reevaluate. That doesn’t mean you have to give up working entirely. Perhaps you just need a subtle shift in career choice. Consider freelancing from home or putting your current skills to use in a new job that fits better with your limitations.

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