Whether due to pain, fatigue or other limitations, working full-time in an office might not be for you. The good news: There are plenty of opportunities to work from home. But home-based employment isn’t without challenges – and those with arthritis have additional considerations to keep in mind, say experts.
First, it’s crucial to consider your physical limitations, says Jim Herzog, a spokesperson for the American Occupational Therapy Association and an occupational therapist who specializes in ergonomic consultation and assessment in manufacturing, warehouse and office environments. An occupational therapist can evaluate your abilities to help you determine the best job fit. Here are more tips to help your job-hunt.
What to Look For
Jobs with less time-sensitive deadlines are best, says Herzog. “That way, a bad day won’t derail your overall performance.” For the same reason, he suggests completing projects two to three days in advance of the actual deadline.
An opportunity that doesn’t require long stretches of work or standing – like tutoring, accounting, writing and customer service – are also good, says Paul Edwards, employment consultant and author of more than 17 books on self-employment and sustainable living.
Self-employment often provides more flexibility, says Herzog, “but keep a regular schedule, even if you’re only working a few hours a week. This keeps you from becoming sedentary, which is bad for arthritis-affected joints and overall health,” he notes.
Where to Look
Currently employed? Ask your boss about telecommuting, says Edwards, who owns a home-based business and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis 39 years ago. Otherwise, scour job sites like monster.com using such keywords as “home-based,” “telecommute” or “flexible schedule.”
For project-based opportunities, Edwards recommends searching guru.com, Mechanical Turk at mturk.com and taskrabbit.com, and setting Google alerts (i.e., a notification for Web posts with specific keywords such as “money manager + home + Buffalo, NY”).
Any “opportunity” you have to pay for is a scam, stresses Edwards; check all potential employers, even contract work, through the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org).
Earnings run the gamut, depending on the hours, your experience level and the current market. “Fatigue and other arthritis-related issues may limit the hours or the type of work you can do, which can reduce your income,” says Edwards.
Talk to your rheumatologist, physical therapist and/or occupational therapist about job ops – the latter of whom can also evaluate your workspace and suggest arthritis-specific adjustments. Visit aota.org to find an occupational therapist near you.