Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reasonable Light Accommodations?

I am always trying to think of ways to appear or act more 'normal' so I am constantly analyzing everything I do and everything around me in terms of how it might affect my Migraines. Lately at work, I tend to hibernate in my office way too much where I don't come out to visit my team or join other meetings in a conference room. Although it has been real busy at work, I don't think this is the full reason I don't leave my office either.

It's no secret that I have an aversion to lights. I already have a light accommodation at work where my company put these amazing light sleeves over the fluorescent lights in my office. They filter the lights which make it possible for me to stay in my office more then fifteen minutes. This is a reasonable work accommodation.

I have found that I don't spend enough time with my team out in their aisle because of their lights. I find I avoid even going out there in the first place because of the fear I might get 'stuck' out there.

I did have an experience on a more light sensitive day where I was stopped by multiple people that report to me with work questions. Despite saying I was having a hard time with the lights and another teammate reiterating this sentiment for me, the questions kept coming anyway.

This is where I often wrestle with myself. I have a hard time with the guilt of trying to be a good supervisor while trying to do my work balanced with the responsibility of taking care of myself. I know I cut my answers short where I didn't elaborate as much as I normally would have or as they were expecting. I believe this is a big reason I don't go out to my team's aisle as often as I should now.

I have also found myself dialing into some meetings which are held in my building like the remotes log in because of my sensitivity to the lights. I figure that it is better to attend meetings this way to get the needed information instead of blowing the meeting off all together or going to the conference room and getting attacked by the lights. To give you an idea, some of these meetings are run by my boss's boss (the guy in charge of our division) so it's probably better that I attend in person if possible.

I have been contemplating asking my boss to have the fluorescent light sleeves put on my team's aisle and in half of one of the conference rooms. The sleeves I have in my office have a clear side which will filter some of the UV rays and flicker from the light. The sleeve can also twist around to a graduating grated filter side which will filter and make the area darker. I have my office twisted to the darkest setting. I mention this because I'm sure that some people on my team would like it a little darker while others would want as much light as they could get. This would allow them that flexibility and hopefully, give me a little relief.

Do you think it would be a reasonable accommodation to request to have these light filters put on the fluorescent lights in my team's aisle? What about half of one of one of the conference rooms? I wouldn't be asking to have the whole floor done, just this small section where I would rationally go on a regular basis.



Migrainista said...

It sounds very reasonable to me. I'm very light sensitive as well and those fluorescent lights can be just awful! Your employers will hopefully see that your work doesn't all take place in your office - it makes sense to have those sleeves in confernce rooms and in your area of supervision. Heck, I think it would be reasonable for all the "public" areas to have sleeves on the lights. If you were in a wheel chair the whole office would need to be accessable to you, not just your office.

Good luck to you. I hope you are able to get the freedom to be your best you!

MigrainePuppet said...

I would LOVE to have the light sleeves not only on my floor, but throughout the whole building - not forgetting the elevators, stairways or bathrooms.

shalunya said...

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MigrainePuppet said...

Thank you shalunya! I really enjoy your blog too. I wish I could be as free and nomadic as you are so I live this through your blog.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

The light sleeves seem like a reasonable request - in the Big American Insurance company I managed in tho, that request would have to go through mulitple committees incuding the facility management team so it would take awhile to implement. Do they have a dress code that excludes visors? That's what I had some of my light sensitive team members use when I couldn't bull my request through committee.

MigrainePuppet said...

I don't think it's asking too much either and will bring it up to my boss the next time he is in the office. There is definitely a dress code on visors although I do keep one in my office under the guise of being a decoration, but have not used it there yet.