Are you struggling in your workplace because of the impact of your hypothyroidism?
Have you considered whether it may be easier and more accessible to seek a new role rather than stay in your current position?
This article will discuss hypothyroidism and its role in the workplace and help you discover if you would be happier in a new role.
You can also read this blog: How to find a good job if you’re living with hypothyroidism
What is hypothyroidism?
On the front of your neck, you have a small, butterfly-shaped gland called the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the body’s needs.
These hormones control the body’s metabolism, including your heart rate, blood pressure, weight and body temperature.
Known as the most common thyroid disorder in Australia, hypothyroidism affects the thyroid gland chronically, meaning it usually persists for a long time or can be constant.
One out of every 33 Australians suffers from hypothyroidism.
Women and those over 60 are more likely to suffer from it than men.
The following symptoms may be present:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Gaining weight
- Sensitivity to cold or intolerance to it
- Muscle pain
- The loss of hair
- Bloating and dry skin on the face
- Concentration problems
- Slower heart rate
- Motivational deficit
Can somebody with hypothyroidism receive workplace support?
There is no cure for hypothyroidism which means it is a lifelong condition.
However, you may qualify for employment support from the government if you live with hypothyroidism and have difficulty finding a job or coping in the workplace.
If you struggle with your day-to-day tasks due to hypothyroidism, you don’t need to suffer alone.
You can reach out for support and receive assistance in finding and maintaining a job.
What are the challenges of hypothyroidism in the workplace?
Hypothyroidism is not always obvious.
It may be preferable for some people not to disclose their conditions to their colleagues, but for others, revealing their needs and challenges can help create a more understanding work environment.
Everyone is affected differently by hypothyroidism.
Symptoms vary depending on the individual.
Despite hypothyroidism symptoms, some people find that they are still able to work fairly well.
Working conditions may be challenging for others.
Some examples of challenges in the workplace may include:
- Physically demanding jobs may be more difficult to maintain for those suffering from hypothyroidism.
- Some people may find traveling to and from work difficult and prefer to opt for a ‘work from home’ position.
- As hypothyroidism can also cause concentration problems, some people may find problem-solving tasks too intensive.
- Those who are very sensitive to the cold may find it challenging to work in an air-conditioned office space.
- Some individuals may experience anxiety if they have to juggle many tasks during their workday.
Is my role appropriate for hypothyroidism?
Consider the above examples and if your role contains any of these challenges.
Are there conversations you could have with your employer to minimise these challenges?
For example, if you currently work in an office that requires travel to and from every day, you may consider asking to work from home a few days a week.
Despite hypothyroidism, many people continue to work and progress in their careers.
Taking the right medication and receiving workplace support may allow you to remain in your current career.
The best way to manage your condition is to follow your doctor’s advice, but workplace adjustments can also help you feel more confident and comfortable.
It may be possible for your employer to get government assistance for equipment and adjustments that will make your job easier.
It’s a good idea to work with an expert agency to help you assess your workplace funding and work with your employer to find solutions to make you comfortable.
Some workplace adjustments that may be able to help you in your role could include the following:
- Working from home
- Considering a part-time role
- Having a flexible schedule
- Using organisation tools to schedule your daily tasks
- Restructuring your job to minimise physical labour
- Taking regular breaks
- Invest in ergonomic equipment
- Ability to take time off for appointments
- Accessing mental health support
What if my role isn’t appropriate for my condition?
If your current role isn’t flexible in allowing you to make workplace changes to enhance your comfort, it may be time to seek a new role.
There is support available if you are struggling to find a job that’s suitable for working with hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that is supported by many disability employment services via government-funded programs that help people with disabilities to obtain and maintain a job.
With the help of an expert employment consultant, you can search for a suitable job, apply for the job, and prepare for an interview.
In addition, an employment consultant can assist you in finding jobs and career pathways that may be a suitable match for you if you are thinking about changing careers, jobs or workplaces.
They can also assist in helping to access workplace adjustments.