Juan Corlett recently reflected again on his 10-year journey recovering from a virus, in a workshop explaining the often-underestimated threat of post-viral fatigue in the workplace.

The Isle of Man Branch of CIPD hosted the event at 1886, which was a co-production between Manx Industrial Relations Service and ME Support (IOM), Registered Charity 381. Expert evidence was provided by Dr Charles Shepherd, Honorary Medical Adviser, ME Association and Lesley Pickering, Director and Specialist Occupational Therapist, North West Fatigue Clinic.

The key messages from the event were:

  • The potential seriousness of post-viral illnesses if mismanaged in the workplace;
  • The damaging consequences of over-exertion during the return to work;
  • How relapses can occur in post-viral illnesses; and
  • The importance of good quality, early advice for employers and employees.

Damian Warburton from Manx Industrial Relations Service co-produced the presentation and gave guidance on supporting employees with long term health conditions, provided solutions to look after staff members and considered the legal implications of dealing with staff experiencing chronic conditions.

The avoidable mistakes Juan made in 2012 when rehabilitating from Epstein Barr Virus were explained, through a mixture of pre-recorded interviews with Juan, Dr Shepherd and Lesley Pickering and also Q&A sessions between those in attendance and Juan and Damian. The lessons of Juan’s story and how he developed ME / CFS are extremely relevant to many of those currently living with ‘Long COVID’ symptoms and Dr Shepherd explained that ‘there is a terrific overlap between Long COVID and ME / CFS’.

Back by popular demand, this was the third event held on island covering this topic and Juan’s story, with the audience even including some who were taking part in the workshop for a second time. Two years on from the onset of the pandemic the topics discussed are hugely relevant to employers, employees and the general public.

Clare Conie, Chair of the IOM Branch of CIPD, Executive Director for the IOM Government’s Office of Human Resources and host for the event, commented that ‘it was a really great session, and everyone commented afterwards about how useful it was. It was a real eye opener’!

She said she would ‘strongly encourage local employers to educate themselves about these issues. This
event is a fantastic opportunity to learn more in an engaging format’.

Another delegate said: ‘I definitely took away some key points to pass onto my team about the importance of post-viral recovery, which I wouldn’t have understood without this session.’

Plans are being made to host the event again in future and larger employers are invited to contact ME Support (IOM) directly if they wish to run the event in-house for their staff.