If an employee has been off work for some time, they can be nervous about returning to the workplace and interacting with colleagues. Employers can ease this transition by showing support and putting in place measures to make sure the employee does not become overwhelmed.
How managers can help cancer survivors settle back into work:1
- Be there on their first day or, if not, phone them.
- Make sure co-workers are expecting them (Source: Managing Cancer in the Workplace. An employer’s guide to supporting staff affected by cancer – Macmillan at Work [PDF]) and know what to expect regarding the employee’s return to work plan and how it will impact their job duties, hours and workload. Provide a forum for co-workers to express their concerns.
- Tell the employee “We’re glad you’re back.”
- Bring the employee up to speed with what’s happened during their absence, such as changes in procedure, new staff, etc. (Source: Managing Through Cancer – Cancer and Careers)
- Make sure survivor-employees are taking breaks and not overworking themselves.
- Discourage overtime by checking that they leave work on time. (Source: Managing Cancer in the Workplace. An employer’s guide to supporting staff affected by cancer – Macmillan at Work [PDF])
Further reading: Supporting a Colleague Who Has Breast Cancer, Elaine Webb – HRVOICE.org