3 min read

How to support a colleague with MS (or with any other chronic illness)

Two women sitting in an office space in front of a laptop collaborating together.

In our shared journey through professional landscapes, the power of supporting one another on a human level cannot be underestimated. This holds particularly true when it comes to navigating chronic health challenges like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or other conditions. Given that we dedicate a very big share of our days to work, recognizing and addressing health challenges – physical, mental, or emotional – within the workplace environment can greatly impact not only individual experiences but also the overall workplace dynamic. 

Extending compassion: The magic of listening

At times, a simple act can create a profound impact. Offering a listening ear and demonstrating compassion can make all the difference for a colleague dealing with health challenges. This connection, even if it’s just for a few moments, fosters a sense of safety and the freedom to express discomfort or challenges. By proactively asking how you can provide support, you reassure your colleague that they are not alone on their journey. Concerns might arise about the added workload, but the rewards of supporting someone in need are immeasurable. A harmonious reciprocity often arises, transforming both your days in positive ways and creating a foundation of trust that can be relied upon in the future. 

Honoring privacy and building trust

A personal revelation reflects a level of trust. When someone opens up about their health challenges (or any other part of their truth), they are essentially “coming out” with a part of their lives that they may have well prepared in advance and bravely shared. This act of trust deserves our utmost respect and confidentiality, regardless of the nature of the topic. It’s a testament to the value they place in our relationship. Embracing this trust is a gesture that fosters deeper connections and contributes to a culture of mutual understanding.

Flexibility: An impactful gesture

Offering flexibility and alternative solutions during days when health symptoms are intensified can be a game-changer. This gesture goes beyond addressing the immediate need and conveys a deep message of care and comprehension. It’s important that this flexibility is genuine and fair, fostering a culture of give-and-take (or as I prefer to say it: offer-and-receive). As the pattern of support changes, a solid base of mutual aid and trust is formed, ensuring that no one faces moments of need in isolation.

Collaboration for success

Collaboration holds significant power. Being open to working together on tasks helps make things lighter on days when extra support is really important. Whether it’s contributing physical energy for demanding tasks or helping clarify thoughts when focus isn’t at its best, your team spirit clearly shows your strong dedication to your team’s success. 


In a professional world often characterized by deadlines and targets, taking a moment to support a colleague dealing with health challenges holds immeasurable value. By weaving a combination of empathy, trust, flexibility, and collaboration, we create an environment where individuals can face challenges with courage and resilience. Remember, your act of kindness today could ripple into a culture of support that extends to all corners of the workplace. In supporting one another, we’re crafting a harmonious work environment that embraces our shared humanity while offering us an additional sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Do you need support to prepare yourself to offer your support to a colleague or someone in your environment living with MS?
Contact me today and soon you will have at your disposal all the right tools and mindset to support them and yourself, while building meaningful relationships.

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