Work or health...
Several years ago I had a heart attack; a total snarl-up in that old favourite, the left anterior descending artery. Two stents and a left ventricular aneurysm later, I am still here and fighting.
Five years later and I work for a publisher in West London. Leaving the house at 6.30am and not getting back until 7.30pm, was starting to seriously enrage my blood pressure and saw me putting on three stone in weight. I knew that something needed to change.
Around 18 months ago, I spoke to the hr department who were very helpful and the end result was a homeworking agreement. I work in the online dept, so all my work can be easily completed from a remote location. I also put in longer hours - the time reclaimed from sitting in my car on a jammed suburban rat-run. The change saw my weight drop by 3 stone, and my blood pressure fall from 149/95 to a constant 112/75. All looking good and no complaints from work.
However, a new boss is not impressed with me 'getting it easy' at home and he's decided i should come back to the office and take the pain like all the other 'hard-working' staff. A doctor's report was demanded, I complied and it confirmed the value of my remote working and reduction in stress.
The manager is not happy, though, and is still trying to change my terms and conditions to take me back to the office. The stress is already causing sleepless nights and I know the compliant blood pressure won't survive the early morning commute and late night returns.
I know that i have no right to demand this, but surely any forward-looking employer working in online publishing must be able to see the benefits of my continued health and the money saved in work costs and time off sick - not one day ill over the past year for me, while many office-bound colleagues have taken numerous sick days.
Do I choose work over my health? I have two children and a mortgage... I have no choice - unlike my employer.