Hello, I'm wondering if anyone might have advice or experience to share around workplace adjustments due to RA symptoms and/or medication side effects please.
I've been working remotely in my current job since starting in the role a couple of years ago - as has the entire team - but work patterns are changing and we are moving to a blended model involving some face-to-face work and some remote.
This presents a few challenges for me at the moment because face-to-face means a lengthy commute by public transport (a train and 2 buses, 2.5 hours each way) and working in shared and public-facing workspaces. I was diagnosed with RA last year and after a couple of treatment escalations the symptoms still aren't under control and I have quite significant fatigue, some of which I suspect is medication-related. I've got stuck on steroids because the RA proved quite resistant to the DMARDs, but need to taper as fast as sensibly possible because a recent DEXA scan showed loss of bone density. Based on experience so far I'm expecting to feel worse before I feel better over the next few months or so with that. Obviously there's also immunosuppression to consider, which concerns me primarily because my treatment and symptoms aren't yet stable, so if I were to get ill and have to pause medication it would interrupt already patchy and limited progress. I really don't want to have to take more medical leave after a having a very rough time and several months off work around diagnosis, and can't financially afford for that to happen either.
Bit of a long story, sorry! My doctor's advised reduced hours (which I'm doing) and not to do the travelling for the next few months and documented this on a fit note. Work have communicated that they won't permit 100% remote working as a temporary adjustment until things are more stable. Apparently the decision was based on workplace need and didn't take my medical situation and documents into account. It doesn't feel to me like the process has been consistent with the equality act, but I'm no expert on that and wasn't in the room when it was discussed. I've tried to explore the decision further with my line manager to understand the thinking behind it but she's just said there has to be limits to adjustments and that's it. Wish someone would tell RA that!!
Can I challenge this, do you think? I love my job and would dearly love to jump back into it full pelt, but the last 18 months or so have been brutal and the thought of taking backward steps at this point from overdoing things or getting ill, when every little improvement has been so hard-won, fills me with dread. Any thoughts or advice would be very welcome.