Remote working: Bringing hope to those with chronic illnesses

As a person with a chronic illness, I’ve been thinking about how the global shift to working remotely has been a hidden blessing for people like me.

February 10, 2021

My name is Matt, I am 26 and I have been working at StarLeaf in digital marketing for just over a year. About four years ago, I started experiencing a range of mysterious symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness and heart palpitations. It took about two years of visits to a variety of doctors before I was diagnosed with a chronic illness called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS). The nature of chronic illness means that I am unlikely to get better, and I have had to learn how to adjust to a new normal.

Adapting to a new normal

Early on, I started looking for jobs which could be done remotely, and initially didn’t have much luck. I am a member of several online chronic illness communities where this question frequently arises, but until the pandemic, remote working has not been an accommodation many have found luck achieving.

The ability to work remotely is a valuable tool in energy rationing, a necessary practice among many chronic illness sufferers. When an active day requires the same time of resting or longer to recover, people with chronic illnesses often need to carefully plan their days around what they can manage. Going out every day can be impossible for many and can hold people back from excelling in a career when their minds are perfectly fine.

Catalysts for change

In a March 2020 report by GitLab, the world’s largest all-remote company, 83% of chronically ill or disabled workers surveyed said that they were able to work because of remote work.

The global remote working experiment unfortunately necessitated by the pandemic has been a resounding success. A consideration which may not have had much attention in the past will now have been thought about by almost every employer in the world. Long term demand for remote work may yet sustain, with the emergence of what is being referred to as ‘long COVID’, long-lasting chronic illness triggered by coronavirus.

Facing forward with confidence

As a society, we have proven that full time remote working is possible for many employers, and that we are able to make these accommodations when they are needed. This has inspired hope and empowerment amongst chronically ill people around the world in a difficult year. I for one feel hopeful that this shift will open the doors to work to many more chronically ill people out there, and look forward to a brighter future.

PoTS UK – Find support and advice about PoTS

Astriid – Employment support for chronic illness

Matt Pashby, Digital Marketing Executive