Therefore their vocational participation may be at risk due to pain and/or movement restrictions. The REHADAT project at the German Economic Institute provides information to secure and improve participation in working life. In addition, REHADAT carries out special surveys on the work situation of people with disabilities or chronic diseases. In 2020, REHADAT surveyed people with rheumatism about their professional situation – of the 419 respondents, 312 had rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, the results for this group of people were evaluated in detail. The aim was to find out which working conditions affect the activities and integration of the employees with RA at their workplaces and to analyse factors that can contribute to improving the work situation. A large proportion of the employees with RA feel to be well integrated at their workplace in the company. Success factors for a working climate perceived as supportive are organisational and technical workplace adjustments and work adaptations, information sharing among the team and between the employees and their superiors and finally the support by persons inside or outside the company. In many cases, technical changes to the workplace and/or organisational adjustments have already been made for the employees, for example concerning flexible working time schedules or the offer of remote work and telecommuting. Support from colleagues and supervisors as well as support and counselling services outside the company also increase integration in the workplace and the chance of being able to work productively.

The results of the REHADAT survey are supplemented by study results from other European countries as well as the USA. This shows that the situation of people with RA in working life is very similar to that in Germany and that companies abroad also support their employees with technical or organisational adjustments and adaptations. In many respects, the study results from abroad confirmed the findings of the REHADAT survey.

The overall analysis of the study situation suggests that information sharing, internal and external support measures, as well as technical and organisational adjustments at the workplace contribute to the ability of employees with rheumatoid arthritis to work productively.