Dealing with Flakes at Work
When I first got diagnosed with psoriasis, I was still in school, so my problems with were mainly focused around social interactions with my classmates. However, over the years new challenges have appeared. One of them was working in an office environment. These days, I can say that I have overcome this fear and today I would like to share some tips on working in an office environment with psoriasis.
When I first started working in an office, my biggest worry was how would I deal with misconceptions regarding psoriasis when my skin flares up. At the end of the day, I was about to spend more time in the office than at home so I was worried how would everyone react. To make things easier, I was very open about my condition from the start so that people would not be scared of my skin and not ask questions such as if I got burned.
Fashion to the rescue
At the same time, I tried to dress appropriately not to make psoriasis more visible than I had to. First and foremost, I never wore black to the office. It made the flakes more visible and especially when my scalp was badly flaking I would look like a snowman. So did my desk. I decided to go for white, grey or cream clothing, dresses in particular, as they were easy to match accessories with. Accessories play another important part when it comes to work wear and psoriasis, like big scarves or necklaces, as they can easily shift the focus from your skin.
Another thing I did when dressing for work was wearing dark tights with patterns (the cat ones were my favourite!) when my skin was worse so that my spots were not visible on my legs.
Knee-high boots and long gloves became a staple part of anything I wore for work. Not only did they go well with the dresses, but also covered a lot of skin, so there was no need to worry about anything while in the office.
Low-key workplace accommodations
While fashion issues might have been solved there was still another problem: having to work at the desk. As nearly half of the people who are diagnosed with psoriasis, I had already started showing symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. As a result, my joints tend to get stiff and swollen on regular basis. One thing I would like everyone to know is that adjusting your work environment to help you manage your condition does not have to be impossible and expensive for the employer, so don't worry about talking about it. It's ok if you prefer to have a white desk, higher chair or anything that can help you feel more comfortable.
Using the keyboard with some additional support around the wrists and a trackpad instead of the mouse was a good change for me. It did not put as much strain on my joints and therefore some of my symptoms became easier to manage.
Last, but not least I know that a lot of people with chronic diseases worry about how their frequent visits to the doctor will influence their performance. What I tend to do to make sure my dermatologist appointments didn't collide too much with my work is to always try to book them well in advance either at the beginning of the day or towards the end of the day. However, if for some reasons it's not possible you could also ask to work from home the day you have an appointment.
All in all, it's more than possible to work with psoriasis in the office environment when only small adjustments are made. It is important that you know your condition and do not worry about speaking up if you need help.
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