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The How Do I? Blog

The How Do I? Blog

4 Apps that can help you support colleagues with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Pictured is an office worker sitting at desk with a coffee and a laptop, rubbing their temples and looking visibly fatigued

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Pictured is an office worker sitting at desk with a coffee and a laptop, rubbing their temples and looking visibly fatigued

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

Imagine always feeling tired no matter how much sleep you have. Imagine always feeling unwell no matter how healthy your diet is or how much you exercise. Imagine being unable to tell your friends, family or colleagues that none of their advice about getting proper rest or adopting healthy lifestyle habits has helped because you’re afraid they may assume you’re just being lazy

People with CFS work hard to manage the symptoms I have described. However due to other people’s misconceptions they may feel pressured to come to work early and stay late, be less likely to take breaks and self-medicate to cope with their workload – even if it worsens the symptoms of their illness.

If a person with CFS over-exerts themselves this means they may have to take more time off to recover from their fatigue. If a colleague is struggling to get the work-life balance right and has a lot of sickness absences, you may want to offer reasonable adjustments and give them extra assistance in managing their workload. 

4 Apps I Recommend  

I recommend the following apps and adjustments to help your colleague:

1. Problems remembering or concentrating is a symptom of CFS and if you’ve been absent for a long time, remembering how to use complex tech or machinery when you return to work can be overwhelming and finding the user manual may seem impossible. How Do I?is an app that provides instant access to the right instructional information in the right place, at the right time through mobile technology. Click here to visit our website to see how my team could help you.

2. You may want to offer flexible working options or let your colleague work from home. Video chat and voice call apps like Skype are excellent tools for including colleagues who work remotely because they work on computers, tablets, mobile devices and smartwatches with an internet connection. 

If you need to host an upskilling session Skype is also useful because you can show your colleague what you’re doing through the screen share feature. Using Skype I was able to easily teach my fabulous and Manchester based colleague Mel Barber how to use the Trello app by letting her watch how I used the app on the screen.

3. Trello is also great for including colleagues who work remotely because it is a web-based project management application. I taught the How Do I? team how to use it because it’s a great way of sharing information, project plans and ideas no matter which part of the country you are in, all you need to do is log into your account online.  

4. Encouraging colleagues with CFS to take more breaks throughout the working day may boost their productivity. This can be difficult if they’re anxious about falling behind but Mobilize Me can help them organise their time with a colour coded calendar.

This app was designed for people with Autism or ADHD, but it is a great way to help any team manage their time and keep their line manager in the loop about project progress.

Do you have any app recommendations for people with CFS and their colleagues? If yes, please leave a comment below – we welcome your suggestions.    

Zeinab Ali – Digital Marketing and Project Assistant for How Do I? 

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