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Working with hypermobility can be challenging; this is why workplace adaptations for hypermobility are needed.
People with hypermobility often find it difficult to perform certain tasks. But this doesn’t mean the job isn’t right for them. Instead, specific adaptations to their work environment are needed to ensure their safety and productivity.
So, let’s explore some essential workplace adaptations for hypermobility that can help individuals with this condition thrive in their jobs.
What are Workplace Adaptations for Hypermobility?
A workplace adaptation is something that is done to accommodate the needs of someone with hypermobility.
This could be something as simple as changing from ballpoint pens to gel pens or something larger such as automating manual doors.
What are the Advantages of Workplace Adaptations for hypermobility?
Workplace adaptations make working life easier for people with hypermobility. These adaptations help them stay in the workplace for longer so they can earn their own money rather than rely on benefits.
Businesses that offer workplace adaptations for hypermobility show they’re an inclusive employer that hires diverse people. This is better for businesses as diversity is linked to increased cash flow.
So, now you know the advantages of businesses adapting their workplaces for people with hypermobility, let’s find out the things they can do.
Flexible working arrangements are important to most workers. As a result, 80% of businesses currently offer them. Flexibility gives you the option to choose where you work and when. For example, on a bad pain day, you have the option to work from home rather than commute to the office.
This is a key workplace adaptation for hypermobility as it can stop sufferers from experiencing unnecessary pain, fatigue, and stress.
Extra toilet breaks
Unfortunately, some companies feel the need to monitor and restrict the number of toilet breaks that their employees take. We have even experienced this ourselves.
If you’re anything like us, your hypermobility gives you an overactive bladder, meaning you need to frequently use the loo. Some people with hypermobility deal with other toileting issues too, such as IBS and constipation.
Organizations must understand that people with hypermobility suffer from these issues and that they need frequent toilet breaks.
Workplace adaptations for hypermobility should include extra breaks. This doesn’t necessarily need to be 20-minute long breaks. Just being able to get up and stretch your legs for two minutes can be enough.
This can beat fatigue, tired eyes, stiff joints, and brain fog – all of which are caused by hypermobility.
People with hypermobility often find that working full-time is too much for them physically and mentally. But this doesn’t mean you have to give up work altogether.
A good workplace adaptation for hypermobility is part-time work. Part-time work is generally considered as working fewer than 30 to 35 hours per week.
You’ll need to discuss your wish with your employer and formally put your request in writing. You may also have to wait a few weeks before your new hours come into force.
All employers should provide ergonomics. Ergonomics are used to make your workspace as comfortable as possible. You may already have things such as lumbar support and footrest, but there are lots of other items that can make working with hypermobility a whole lot easier.
When you’re experiencing pain at work, ask for an ergonomics assessment to see what can be put into place to help you.
Many people with hypermobility use mobility aids to help them daily. A cane, crutches, walker, and wheelchair are common items that are used. Employers must ensure that their workspaces are accessible for people with hypermobility who use these aids.
Education & support
While hypermobility is a recognized term among the general public, most don’t think it’s anything more than being bendy.
Similarly, conditions such as hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) and hypermobile Ehlers Danlos (hEDS) are relatively unheard of.
Organizations should do everything possible to educate their employees on hypermobility. This ensures that the hypermobile person’s colleagues understand the full extent of their condition and how it affects them.
Giving support by providing the adaptations mentioned above is also essential.
Other ways employers can support hypermobile employees in the workplace are:
- Provide health care insurance
- Be sympathetic
- Authorize paid time off for medical appointments
- Listen to the individual’s needs and concerns
Workplace adaptations for hypermobility can make a world of difference to a hypermobile worker’s life. If your employer isn’t doing these things already, give them a nudge to do the right thing. And, if you’re an employer with hypermobile employees, make sure you provide suitable adaptations for them all.