A one size fits all approach does not work for everyone. For me, the opportunity to have more freedom of choice with how I work means that I can really thrive and get the best out of myself.
Diabetes is mainly invisible, so people are less likely to understand when I’m not feeling good and may be offended if I’m not my usual bubbly self. Flexible working means I can simply choose to work from home that day if I need some space.
In my previous roles, I’d have to make sure appointments were at the very start or very end of each day, which was extremely annoying but also meant I had fewer options and would have to wait longer to be seen. I’d then have to rush into the office after the appointment, which is stressful and meant another chunk of my day was spent commuting.
I can now work near the hospital and focus on the appointment, before making up for the time when it suits me.
At the moment, I’m in the process of a massive life change by getting an insulin pump rather than the MDIs (multiple daily injections) that I’ve been on for 22 years (!). Being able to work around these appointments has made it so much easier for me to process and focus on this change and how I can make the transition as easy as possible for me.
Living with diabetes can take a toll on your mental health, and having nice spaces where I can meet with colleagues is amazing. Dogs are also something that really help me with my mental health and I dog-sit regularly through various apps. I’m able to take care of them at home or even take them to the dog-friendly workspaces on the network, which is good for me and the dog.
Hypos (low blood sugar) and hypers (high blood sugars) are real and can happen unexpectedly, even if you’re doing everything right. If I had to ask my boss for a late start every time I had a hypo, it would be ridiculous. Night time ones can be the worst, as I’m too worried to sleep until blood sugar is back in range, which sets you up for a really terrible next day. Having flexibility means that, if I need to, I can have a late start to catch up on rest so I’m not left behind.
Of course there are laws against discrimination, but I’ve never shared with an employer about my type 1 diabetes before my offer is received and contract signed; I’d be genuinely concerned that it would have an impact on a decision. Diabetes can mean you need time off to recover from hypos or to have appointments and I’m not letting that define me and my output at work. Flexible working means I can have that extra time if I need it, but still thrive in my role, and provides me with the space to work at a pace that suits me.
Thanks to Desana, it’s been easier than ever before to manage my diabetes and work at my full potential. I’m proud of where I am now and hope that this helps fellow diabetics to see what’s possible with flexible working.