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Want to Help an Employee Manage a Chronic Illness? Here’re 3 Tips that Work
Insights From Mettl Company Insights

For a person battling a chronic illness, nothing matters more than feeling normal all over again. They reminisce the days of good health when they were able to carry out day-to-day activities whether it’s eating, meeting friends, pursuing hobbies or simply feeling good inside. Discussing the tough phase they are going through at the moment intensifies their emotional turbulence and takes a toll on both their physical and mental health. As a manager or colleague; your job is to make them feel better and not worsen their physical and emotional state. Following these tips can help:

  • Don’t change the way you interact with a person struggling with a chronic illness. Having sympathy or pitying their condition is only going to devastate them. Instead, make efforts to make them feel home and comfortable. There should not be any change in your behavior towards them or else, they would feel alienated; adding to their suffering. Simply help them feel normal as if nothing has changed and everything is usual as before. Know inside that it’s a tough time for them; but don’t reflect that with your actions, gestures or behaviors. And the most important, don’t bring up the topic of illness during conversations. Remember you have to implicitly empathize, but not explicitly sympathize.
  • Spread awareness among other colleagues and peer group. You must understand their vulnerabilities and sensitize with their condition, but it’s only your duty to safeguard them too against those vulnerabilities.Provide clear directions to people around and advise them to be around that person and not leave them aloof for long. Allow the person to feel like a normal person and not like an alien entity, just because they are dealing with adverse health conditions.
  • Although it might look like a biased approach, you must be soft and more than generous to a person managing a chronic illness. Sometimes, allowing exclusive privileges won’t harm if that makes them feel better. Allow them to work from the comfort of their home every once in a while, recognize and appreciate their efforts and channelize your efforts in making them feel normal. Be a silent support without making it evident or obvious.

Topics: Employee Engagement

Originally published September 12 2018,updated June 29 2019

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