Crohn’s is a lifelong condition where parts of the digestive system become inflamed. The inflammation of the digestive tract can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. There is no known treatment for Crohn’s Disease as yet, but there are treatments and medications that help people living with the condition. With the right treatment, symptoms can be eased and people with the condition can function better.

However, regardless of what treatment someone has access to, Crohn’s is a life-limiting disease. It affects how people with the condition are able to live their life and execute daily tasks. Therefore, it is classified as a disability under U.K. Equality law. 

People with Crohn’s are entitled to extra support in different areas of life. One important area is that of work and employment. Those living with Crohn’s Disease need extra help and support to be able to work in the same way as their non-disabled colleagues. Some may not be able to work at all.

On this page, we want to talk more about this support and how it can be managed both from the employee and employer’s points of view.

The Support Employees With Crohn’s Disease Need

The definition of Crohn’s means that it affects you consistently and on a long-term basis. And this isn’t just in the physical regard. A recent survey showed that as many as 8 out of 10 people living with Crohn’s or Colitis said the condition affects their self-esteem and confidence.

Living with Crohn’s isn’t easy. Working with the condition isn’t so easy either.

If you have struggled to find work that will suit you as someone with Crohn’s before, there are things that you can look for you that will help. Not every job will suit you and that is ok. There are opportunities better suited for people with invisible disabilities, including Crohn’s.

Things that can make your life easier at work include:

  • Flexible working hours: You can take breaks when you need to rest or your symptoms increase. You can also more easily visit the doctor when you need to and schedule appointments with less stress
  • Remote working: The lack of commute can make your day less stressful and unpredictable
  • Frequent and accessible toilet breaks: If you have to ask to go to a toilet or you are restricted from freely using the toilet in your workspace, chances are you will feel a lot of anxiety and shame as someone living with Crohn’s. If you look for a job with frequent and accessible toilet breaks, you will be much happier.
  • An open and inclusive work environment: Things are much easier when you work with people who understand. When it comes to disclosing your disability, it will feel much more comfortable if you know you are in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The best way to find this is to look for Disability-Friendly and Disability Confident employers.

Finding the right job won’t fix the difficulties you have with your condition overnight. But it will make a big portion of your life a lot easier. We spend an awful lot of time at work, we need to be happy there.

If you don’t feel like you are getting what you need in your current job or if you want to start looking for a job for the first time, we have some great resources to help. Take a look at our live job board and list of company profiles. Here, you can find jobs and employers that are Disability-Friendly. This will help you know you are going into a supportive environment where you can be yourself.

That can make a world of difference.

How Employers Can Help

There are a lot of ways in which employers can help people living with Crohn’s. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Providing adequate and accessible toilet facilities: It will be a source of great stress to your employees if the toilet facilities aren’t up to scratch. People with Crohn’s may need to use the toilet frequently and urgently. Some may also use a colostomy bag. Providing good quality toilets that are accessible to all members of staff is essential.
  • Allowing flexibility of breaks: It is much more comfortable for people with Crohn’s at work if they can take a break when they need to and without notifying a manager. As we have mentioned, people with the condition might need the bathroom quite frequently. As an adult, it is never ideal to have to make everyone around you aware of your bathroom habits. Allowing your employees both dignity and autonomy can really help.
  • Offering remote work: Remote work can allow employees to have the comfort of their own homes. If they are struggling with pain and related symptoms right now, working at home can be ideal. It can also reduce the stress of commuting and working in close proximity to others during a bad flare-up.
  • Creating an open and honest relationship with employees: Life gets easier at work if your employees feel comfortable talking to you. When you are open and honest with your employees, it is easier for them to tell you what they need. This cuts down on any guessing and assumptions. Creating a safe environment helps everyone in the long run.
  • Encouraging office learning and training: It is important that everyone in your office is as accepting as possible of their disabled colleagues. One of the best things you can do for employees with Chron’s is to encourage office learning and training. Learning about non-visible disabilities helps reduce stigma and increase care.

If you work on all of these things, your employees with Crohn’s will have a much happier and healthier time at work. This is good for both them and you, as you will get a loyal and hardworking employee in return. People with disabilities deserve our support and we owe it to them to do our best.

Find out more about becoming a Disability-Friendly employer right here on our site. Then, you can look into what we offer employers at Careers with Disabilities. With us, you can create your own company profile, get social media coverage, and recruit a diverse pool of candidates with inclusive job postings.

Being an inclusive employer is the way forward. Get started with us today.