Psoriasis in the Workplace
In Singapore, we spend at least 8 hours at the workplace each day. Many of us spend more time with co-workers than with our life partners.
Psoriasis sufferers have the additional battle of managing their condition at work, coping with flare-ups and overcoming social stigma.
Here are some ways you can deal with psoriasis in the workplace.
Addressing Skin Care at Work
Some psoriasis sufferers may have to take care of their skin during the work day. Try to schedule these sessions at times which would be less conspicuous – for instance during lunch or tea breaks.
To Tell or Not To Tell?
This would depend on the pattern of your flares and outbreaks and the general severity of your condition. If you have mild psoriasis, you may not need to tell anyone. But, if your flare-ups happen frequently, are severe and highly visible, then it's better to tell your co-workers so that they're not left wondering. This will help you avoid unnecessary misperceptions.
How do I tell my co-workers?
If your condition is severe, don’t put it off. The sooner your co-workers understand you have psoriasis the less misunderstanding you have to deal with later. Be direct, be factual. Say “You may notice that I’ve had some flare-ups lately. I have psoriasis. It’s very itchy and annoying but it is not infectious.” For co-workers who want to know more, share the link to Freedom360 website with them.
Others will take their cue from you. The more at ease you are with your condition, the easier it is for others to understand what you’re going through.
How do I deal with work when I have flare-ups?
Concentrate on your most important tasks when you have the most energy. Overdoing things may trigger exhaustion and stress, which may make your psoriasis even worse. And stay positive!
Are there work settings which are unsuitable for psoriasis sufferers?
We need to balance the concern for psoriasis in the workplace against the right and need of the individuals to be able to do the work they enjoy. The first practical step is to consider how the condition might impact the performance and outcome of the job and the problems it might create. Focus on real issues. Greater public education will help remove barriers.
If you have told your co-workers about your condition, it will be much easier to address the social concerns and how others might react to your skin. Be informed and use the power of your knowledge to overcome the social stigma of your condition.