Every day, as you come into the office or connect with your colleagues through virtual applications, it is inevitable to build some sort of relationship with the people you work with. Some, you are very close to and now developing good talking relationships outside the office. Others, you just have a corporate relationship with.
A good way to stay motivated and connected with work is to have people you connect with. Click here to read our article on how to Get Yourself A Workplace Buddy and Make Magic Happen At Work
As you create these beautiful relationships at work, issues around your health are not one of those topics you talk about over an office-moment laugh. Health-related issues are sensitive and if you must discuss them with a colleague, you should only do so carefully.
We have put together a few tips to help you navigate this sensitive discussion
Only Share With the Right Person(s)
We do not advise you to start sharing your health challenges during a brainstorming session or in a Monday morning meeting. If you decide to share, ensure you either share with;
Someone who needs to know – if you are in a situation where you need time off or may need specific support with work due to health challenges, then your employer, HR manager, or anyone in the position to either grant you time off or provide the extra resources you need to carry out your work effectively would need to know about your health. In this case, even if you do not want to tell them, they need to know in order to provide the support you need to work.
Someone you need to tell – You may be lucky to have a colleague who provides a shoulder to lean on. This may be your bestie, a health professional, or someone who has the experience and can provide some advice on the issue, or share words of encouragement. People who fall into this category do not need to know, rather, you need to tell them to either get advice or words of encouragement.
One person can play both roles. If you have built a very close relationship with your HR manager or employer, beyond providing the resources and allowance to aid your work, they may encourage you through the challenging times.
Pick the Right Moment
Now that you have identified the right person(s) to speak with, timing becomes critical. We advise you to pick moments that are more relaxing and less tensed or packed with work to talk about your health. Whiles taking a walk during break would be a good time. We encourage you to explore options outside work hours like during dinner or over a drink during the weekend.
It is important to remember that the idea is to get support, not to leave people devastated. This means you need to also pay attention to the mental state of the person(s) you want to speak with in deciding when/when not to speak. Asking you to deploy emotional intelligence may sound like a big ask but it is necessary to ensure that the result is achieved.
Do Not Talk About it Unless Necessary
There are times when the best thing is not to speak about your health challenges. In a situation where there isn’t someone who needs to know and you do not need to tell anyone at work, it is best to keep it away.
If it becomes necessary to talk to someone, find such solace outside the office. Appropriately, speak to your doctor or health consultant.