Hi I am crying writing this don’t even know where to start. I have been shielding since 19th March 2020. Albeit working from home the whole time since this date. Have had numerous RA flares. I am on biologics 2nd one so far but have had 5 medication changes since first having RA in Nov 16. My previous office manager left couple of years ago. Got new one now awful uncaring unemotional does not or want to even understand RA. Get the rolling eyes huff and puff u know the situation. They want me back in the office after 21st June and the office is not covid friendly no previsions or alterations have been made. I work on reception so all staff will come into the space where I will work and clients so scared don’t know what to do. I am suffering with stress RA flare and scared to go out there as my health deteriorated so much. I just want to hide away. I find even getting up a nightmare can’t dress myself as need help to sit up when been in bed for a while. Don’t know what to do anymore feel soooo low
Feel so alone stressed RA flare and uncaring workplac... - NRAS
Hi sabrejan, I'm so sorry you're going through this - how stressful for you. I'm not good on the rights side of things (I know some of the other members will be able to give you some concrete advice) but I just wanted to send some sympathy your way - you're not alone!
Sorry you are feeling so bad, I think the majority of RA sufferers have been where you are now, I know I have. Things will get better, but we are all here for you.
If work cannot accommodate you and you are not well get signed off from your GP. Only you know how you feel and we can all relate 🥰 Hugs
Oh love, im so sorry you are going through this, you've been shielding for so long and done such a good job of keeping yourself safe, all must be overwhelming.
I know from experience that phoning the NRAS helpline jas been brilliant so thats one option the other would be citizens advice.
Have you had your covid vaccines ? Just trying to think of ways you can protect yourself as it doesn't seem your workplace are being very helpful.
Big hugs for you xx
Thank you so much for your reply means so much big hugs. Will try and sort something when I can stop crying 😢
I have had both covid jabs. I am classified as clinically extremely vulnerable x
I have been shielding for most of the last year too, as classed as extremely clinically vulnerable, my job is in a very busy garden centre, where I am in charge of all the cashing up of tills and banking. I was concerned when I started back to work, although on furlough, our centre was open throughout lockdown, and as you can imagine was very busy, having to handle cash that maybe hundreds of people had handled, there is nothing dirtier than money, but I have had both jabs now, and am determined to get back to some kind of normality. That is all we can do, while trying to keep ourselves and others safe.
Oh, I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling so bad! It sounds like an awful situation. I'm not surprised you're worried about going back to work after you've been shielding so long, especially with an unsympathetic supervisor - that would be bad enough without having a RA flare as well
Is there anyone you can phone to talk to about it? Maybe a sympathetic GP, or rheumatology nurse helpline, or the NRAS helpline?
I'm sure some of the others on this site will have good advice, but I just wanted to send good wishes and sympathy.
Your employer has a duty of care to make reasonable adjustments to make you feel safe and supported....... I would suggest an occupational health referral, your unsympathetic boss cannot refuse this request. Sorry this has caused you such upset, you have enough on your plate.
Thank you so much foe your kind words. I will look into everything and get the help I need as I know I can’t do this on my own feel too poorly. Your all so very kind x
Oh dear that's really tough and I'm so sorry for you that your boss isn't being at all helpful or understanding. There have been some good suggestions already and I think I would contact NRAS tomorrow as I'm sure they will offer some very good advice on how to handle the situation. As you are struggling with an RA flare (or is it RA not under proper control?) and anxiety/stress I'm sure that the GP could offer some help and maybe give you a sick note. Don't hold back on telling your GP how things are for you on your worst days.
This is what gov.uk states on returning to work:
"... Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk."
As you are on a biologic and have been shielding you are at higher risk so it seems to me that you qualify for that extra consideration. I feel sure that either NRAS or the CAB will be able to tell you what you are entitled to or should be able to expect under the circumstances.
Sending you hugs and warmest wishes. 💐
Definitely ask for help as it's your employer (or at least office manager) who is in the wrong. I'm sure that NRAS will be able to help you so please make that call tomorrow. 😘
Omg no wonder your upset, that's a lot to deal with, I think like others have said firstly you should either speak to your dr to be signed off for a while or speak to NRAS to get some advice. Also as others have said your work have a duty of care towards you where you work, you need to see your HR person to also get some advice on how you are feeling and what they are doi v to help the situation. Do you have a family member or friend who may be able to be with you whilst you do this, the support will help you. I would also speak to your consultant about your RA pain, can they up your medication to help with the pain? Try to not let the manager upset you, she doesn't sound like a very nice person and not worthy of your energy. Good luck xx
Thank you even thinking about things o break down. I will sort things when I am strong enough. No one at work I can trust two faced uncaring just have to look out for myself x
I hope you have been able yo have some help from your dr and HR team at work xx
Hi my dr has been amazing and work have finally understood about RA so are being more supportive. The NRAS have been amazing thank you all for guiding me really needed all your support. I am very depressed and am trying to take one day at a time. My husband and daughter my mum friends are amazing support x
Hi Sabrejan,Others have already suggested some avenues of help, I just wanted to send my support to you and let you know that you’re a strong person. You’ve been shielding for over a year - that takes strength.
Take time to gather your thoughts, get some advice and see what your options are. One step at a time.
My boss has June 21 ringed on his calendar for me to go back into the office and I have very mixed feelings about it. Screens have been set up in some areas but now they know that the virus is airborne, I don’t see what use they will be. At least with warm weather, doors and windows can be open. Is it possible to ventilate your reception area? Do you have to sit in the reception area if you’ve been working from home all of this time?
Warm wishes and a big hug xx
Hi thank you for ur lovely reply. My main job is covering reception and a whole host of other duties. Window cannot be open as sealed up with secondary glazing too as office on main road and traffic noise too loud so boss will not open the window. I will sort things when I am up to it too low at the min x
There are a few things that you can do to try and nudge things in the right direction.....
1. Do ‘discussions’ via email as these are legal documents and you can readily reproduce them at a later date if needs be.... I’ve always forwarded any that are possibly pertinent to my personal email so that if they came off the work system I still had them - I needed them 6 years ago but that headteacher ‘moved on’ and subsequent heads have been very understanding.
2. You should have a risk assessment done by your employer which lays out the extra risks you medical condition poses and what steps they have taken to minimise these. Politely ask for a copy of this via email sent to your line manager and cc in you workplace HR person. Keep everything polite and when you’re back into work if the line manager makes any ‘demands’ that are inappropriate for your situation don’t give any committing responses but say ‘can I get back to you on that please’ then do so 1-2 days later via an email. The email needs to state date time/quote of what was requested or said..... i.e. ‘hi so & so, re our discussion on Monday 17th (9:30am) after considering your request that I do such and such I am emailing to say I feel this would be inappropriate because.......’ thanks for your time and consideration.
3. You can self refer to your HR department for a return to the workplace assessment if you wish to.
4. Let your union rep know of your concerns ... not in one? I advise joining one.
All the best
So sorry to read about your work situation !! I also work as a receptionist since I went back to uni and I understand that you are worried! There are just too many people not respecting the covid rules and it drives me mad when they come into the reception area not wearing masks and not caring that there should only be 2 people at the same time etc. ! So I pretty much had the same situation - but here (in Switzerland), it's actually illegal under covid laws to force people back into work if they are at risk and if the employer can't/won't put all the necessary safety measures into place. In that case people are allowed to refuse work and still get most of their salary. I don't know how the situation in the UK is but I find it hard to imagine that an employer would be able to get away with this...
All the best and I keep my fingers crossed,
I know it’s really scary the thought of going back to an office, especially being at home for so long. Shielding ended a little while ago for most. Have you had the covid vaccines? This will obviously help protect you too. At some point getting back to a slightly more normal is inevitable. You just have to try protect yourself best you can & if you don’t feel safe your employer needs to accommodate this so you feel comfortable. If you are having trouble with your actual boss (they sound really ignorant) then perhaps go to HR?
In regards to your RA sounds like you could do with some support from your team, if you are struggling with simple day to day activities I imagine you feel pretty terrible anyways. I hope things improve for you and your stress eases xx
Hi, I'm so sad to hear you're suffering. Sending a virtual hug 🤗x We are all here for you. Definitely call the NRAS helpline - they are such lovely, caring and knowledgeable people ❤ Open Monday-Friday from 9:30am until 4:30pm. Call on 08002987650. (Freephone)
Thank you so so much lovely words big hugs 🤗. I will give them a call when I am strong enough as can’t stop crying every time I think about things x
I know that feeling, truthfully. This IS the time to call them. I have had many a tearful call to them. They won't mind, honestly. It's time to get some help. Today is the day x
Thank you I will x
Totally agree Moomon8 now is the time to contact people for help. We shouldn’t wait until we are stronger, I think just making that call will help to make you feel stronger and more in control as you are trying to help yourself by asking others for help. There is no shame on crying down the phone when you are at your lowest point or ever in fact. Sending massive hugs sabrejan. Please make those calls and get help now. Xxx
I'm great at listening and talking to anyone about anything...except when it's about my health....then I'm a right mess! 😭Get yourself showered, dressed, something to eat and drink and make a list of what you want to ask. Be ready to call NRAS at 9:30. You can do this, you can x
I can’t add much to the advice you’ve been given but thinking of you , it’s a horrible situation to be in x
Hi thank you for u kind words. I have no one I can turn to at work the owner boss and office manager are causing it all. They just want me back in the office and even through shielding they have tried to get me in. I do take painkillers and have had steroid tablets. Nothing helps due to me being very stressed x
hello sabrejan, im so sorry you feel so low. I understand totally, I shielded first lockdown and then second and now third. I was due back to work beginning of April but then my elbow operation came up so I've been off now this time since xmas eve. I am one of the lucky ones because I have HR and occupational health but if I didn't I would certainly call NRAs or get help from my union rep. I have called for help before and been crying down the phone, we can't hold our emotions in and sometimes that is good because they realise that they need to do something for you and act promptly. I am very worried about going back because I've been off a while now and things change so quick but I won't hesitate to say to customers I've been shielding for a reason so I need to be careful. I've had both jabs like you but I understand it must be daunting for you because you have been off the full time. I have cried many tears in lockdown and it hasn't helped with nosey neighbours asking personally why I was off and how is it working out being at home, I had no choice!!!!!! All I got last year was well at least the sun is shining, yes for that I was grateful but inside I was crying all the time, you are not alone. It has been a tough journey but you will get there with a little help from us caring and the support when you are strong enough to make the call. As moomin said please call as soon as you can, its one step to feeling a little brighter. Please keep us updated, good luck🍀🌈x
Aw thank you sorry you have been struggling too. I have made the call to NRAS they were brilliant and made the call to my drs too. Have spoken to work too so hopefully things will get sorted x
that's really good,I'm so pleased for you. I spoke to my work today as my surgeon recommended I go back on a phased return basis for 6 weeks but I'm going back for a month reduced hours and still keep my holiday to do whatever end of June. I will get extra support too as i have lost my mojo a bit and a few passwords for work along the way!!It must be tough for you being off for so long but we will get there for sure😉x
Dear Sabrejan, very sorry of your pain and stress. I decided to resign as to avoid stress in 2019. Now basically doing some part time work where I control my time.
It is very hard if your office is not RA and Covid friendly. I am sure it will be very stressful working there.
Sending you 🤗
so sorry to hear you are going through all this; you actually have a right to contact H.R they need to know you are in the at risk group and that is why you were put into shielding. They should support you in returning to work, by protecting your environment and even helping you with getting a O.T assessment so that they can provide a healthy working environment. Maybe contact C.A.B and see if they can support you in this and maybe talk to your rheumy nurse see what they say about this and what agencies they can signpost you to; this just sounds so awful, it's so unfair that your manager has made no effort to try and support you or even empathise with your situation.
Sorry if I sound like I am ranting, just so angry for you, you shouldn't be treated this way
😠 praying that things will improve for you soon, sending lots of love and light
Hi I feel like screaming let alone ranting. I have spoken to Rheumy doctors CAB so getting plenty of help with it all now. No HR to talk to. Looks like the Indian covid variant is now spreading fast so things could all change again and still be able to work from home. Who knows just hope things get better for us all. X
I’m glad you found the strength to call, CAB can offer advice in relation to rights at work, Rheumatology can perhaps give you a letter to continue working from home whilst getting your condition better controlled.Take care.
Well done for taking those active steps.
Don’t feel alone xx sounds like you might need to be signed off to recuperate without having to worry about going into work xx I hope you can ease back in comfortably and they start to understand x. Stay strong xx
Hi Sabrejan - sorry to hear of your pain, which is not helping your RA.
You have great suggestions here - and know that we are protected with RA.
Your manager sounds like a bully and a fool (sorry). So your next steps :
1) speak to your HR (please don't be worried too) - let them know what you are going through and your manager’s actions - it's on record
2) speak to your GP let him know what is happening at work - as well as your consultant to find the right biologics - I went through at least 8!
3) never feel intimidated or bullied. You go back to work when YOU are fit and able - please remember they cannot sack you for being unwell. (There are two areas employers have an added duty of care that is disability and pregnant women.)
Do take the time to breathe and heal. You have all the support here, so do check back. Sending you a gentle hug 🤗 - Hessie
Hi Hessie what a lovely kind message means so much. All I seem to do at the moment is sleep as for months have not been able to. My work boss is being supportive now so finally I feel like I have been heard. I don’t trust the new office manager she’s let me down. My drs NRAS friends husband daughter all of you have helped me so so much. I no longer feel alone you are all amazing people x x.
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