There are many industries and jobs where people with multiple sclerosis thrive. However, many people with MS encounter challenges when looking for supportive workplaces and employers.
Multiple sclerosis affects everyone differently and it is difficult to predict how the condition will progress over time. People with MS may experience symptoms which can impact their work such as fatigue, speech impairments, vision impairments and difficulty concentrating.
Keeping or adapting your current job
Many people with MS continue to work in the same role. With a supportive employer and workplace adjustments, a lot of jobs can be adapted to better suit a person’s needs.
Many employers are willing to make accommodations for their employees and may be eligible for financial assistance from the Government to do so.
Workplace adjustments might include:
- Flexible working hours. MS symptoms are often unpredictable. Going home early or starting later to help manage symptoms can help you feel more supported.
- Part time work. If keeping full time hours is not possible, your employer may offer you a part time role or let you work from home part of the week.
- Redesigning your role. If you can no longer perform particular work tasks, your employer may redesign your role to be more suited to your capabilities. For example, reducing the amount of physically intensive tasks to help you manage fatigue.
- Assistive equipment. There are many types of assistive technologies that can help you perform your role well. For example, screen reader software can help for those with a vision impairment.
- Redesigning the workplace. Changes to the workplace layout and facilities can help make them more accessible. Positioning your workstation away from air conditioners and fans may help with managing cold sensitivity.
Finding a job when you have multiple sclerosis
For some people, continuing in their existing role is not possible and they decide to make a career change. Others find their current workplace is not supportive of their condition and decide to look for a new job.
When looking for a new job, it’s important to consider your interests, skills and capabilities. Your previous experience in other workplaces may help you when applying for new jobs. Speaking with an Employment Consultant from APM may help you identify suitable job types.
For helpful information about job searching, check out APM’s guide to finding a job while living with multiple sclerosis.
Jobs for people with multiple sclerosis
As with the rest of the population, there is no one size fits all job for people with MS. Everyone has their own interests, skills and needs when it comes to work. Below are some ideas to get started. If you aren’t sure what types of jobs are right for you, it’s best to speak with a professional.
Work from home jobs
Remote work is becoming more common. Remote jobs include copywriting, graphic design, transcribing, online tutoring, product reviewing and customer support. Working from home may help you manage fatigue and avoid challenges with commuting to work.
If you would like to work in an office based role, there are many adjustments that can be made to make the workplace more accessible. For example, ergonomic chairs, adjustable workstations and wheelchair friendly facilities.
Freelance jobs such as photography, copywriting, video editing and virtual assistance are usually more flexible. As a freelancer, you have more control over your schedule and workload which may help you manage fluctuating symptoms.
If you have creative skills, there are many flexible creative careers from photography to graphic design, illustration and social media management. A lot of creative careers are project based with flexible schedules which may allow you to design your work day in a way that suits you.
If you have a passion for looking after others, consider a job like childcare, counselling, working with animals or education assistant. Some of these may require some further training, however many of these roles can be done on a part time basis.
Are you living with MS and looking for work?
Working comes with a range of benefits. Not only does it give you more financial freedom, it can also boost your confidence and help you connect meaningfully with other people.
At APM, we believe everyone has the right to experience the benefits of a supportive and accessible workplace.
If you are living with MS and looking for work, support is available. You could be eligible for Disability Employment Services, a government funded program which helps people living with illness, injury or disability find and keep a job.
Find out more about how APM can support you on your employment journey by registering today.