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This is a guest post written by Carolyn Matheson, MCC , President of PeopleWorkBest.com
Continuing to working with cancer or a chronic illness is very important for many people.
It is one of the few parts of life that a person can feel they have control over. Having a sense of normality is essential when treatments, frequent visits to hospital become an unwelcome part of everyday life. Working can provide a welcome relief from daytime TV.
Here are 5 tips for supporting individuals working with cancer or chronic illness:
1. Treat them as a normal person; they are still the same person and not defined by their illness. They may look different, but it is the inside of them that matters most. Make them feel part of the team again.
2. Meet more regularly. Involve them in agreeing manageable workloads. Break tasks down into smaller steps. This makes any job more manageable and encourages a sense of achievement. It gives a great sense of personal satisfaction to leave work each day having achieved something meaningful. Prioritize together so individual knows the most important tasks to concentrate on.
3. Many illnesses are invisible and you will need to weigh up the individual’s right to confidentiality and disclosing to the team. The individual is the best person to guide you. It can help to be open with others close by who can better understand absences and also be more in tune to support the individual.
4. Consider a buddy scheme. With the permission of the individual it can be very successful to partner them with someone who has also experienced cancer or a chronic illness – even if they are in a different office. It helps to share how they manage daily activities which might seem manageable to most but impossible for the person who is unwell. It can be a chance for them to share how they manage life outside of work as well.
5. Each person is different and keeping the conversation open in vital. As a manager you may have experienced many people with illnesses but no two people are the same. Each one of us copes differently and need to be managed accordingly. All the answers can be found with good communication with the individual.
Picture Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/21898360@N07/3164436284/
NOTE: For the month of September, I’m got a special offer to my subscribers. The program is “Get Your Butt in Action” and it’s a very special fee to encourage you to get the help you need to change your job, find a job or develop a new career direction. Sign up for 3 months of coaching and get 50% off the standard price! Want to learn more? Email me with “Special Offer” in the subject line.