Do you work to live or live to work? No matter which category you belong to, most of us spend many hours a day at our workplace. That’s why it’s very important to us, that we have nice colleagues, a good boss, a positive working environment - and time to visit the bathroom!
Whether you have been working continuously or are just getting back to work, bladder issues can unfortunately not be left at home. Catheterizing needs to fit in with your workday – but it doesn’t have to have a big impact on your workday. Intermittent self-catheterization can be done within a few minutes, so your visits to the restroom would normally not be longer than everyone else’s.
Do I need to tell anyone?
Whether it’s relevant to tell about your situation or not depends on how much your condition influences your work. It’s not easy to talk to your boss about it, but it may be better to do it before a difficult situation occurs, where you suddenly need to rush out in the middle of a meeting or task. You are not required to provide your boss with a lot of details about your situation. If you are a woman and have a male boss, you might find it even more awkward. You don’t have to tell him anything beyond perhaps that you have to go often and that it’s a female issue. If you have a close colleague that you trust, it might be a good idea to tell him or her. Mostly, you should trust your instincts and do what you feel is best for you.
Your rights when you return after illness or surgery (local variations)
The laws of most countries state that employers must make “reasonable adjustments” that you might need in order to enable you to work again. If you are in a wheelchair, it could be an accessible restroom or other necessary equipment. Maybe you need more flexible work hours too? Investigate which people are relevant to contact to arrange such adjustments. If you are in a large company such questions are usually part of the duties of a human resource manager.
Meetings can be stressful – especially long ones. If you chair them, you can set aside time for short breaks – the other participants will probably appreciate 5 minutes to stretch their legs or drink coffee. If you are a participant yourself, it may not be easy just to leave during the meeting. Catheterize just before the meeting and suggest one or more breaks to the chairperson. Again, most people will welcome your suggestion.
Business travels or courses
Even with a good bladder management routine for work you might eventually experience challenges. Many people with bladder issues find it stressful if their work requires business traveling or participating in courses away from the work place. You can perhaps benefit from our advice in the travel section, where you’ll find tips for airplane travels, clever packing and more.
These are general guidelines meant to help you with typical questions. You should follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider and the intermittent catheterization solution you are using.