Changing the conversation about work and cancer


Do your HR policies and processes support employees with cancer?

Posted: 8th February 2018

Successfully managing an employee with cancer will become a far more common experience for line managers, and one of the most challenging. Read this article, written by Barbara Wilson for the HR Zone, about the HR policies and processes employers should put in place to support employees with cancer and ensure that they make a… [Read More]

What is ‘Chemo brain’ – and how can you support an employee who is affected by it?

Posted: 7th December 2017

Chemo brain refers to the cognitive changes that people with cancer may experience before, during and after cancer treatment. These changes may include having trouble with mental tasks related to attention span, thinking, and short-term memory. Many people describe this as a mental fog. The condition is common in cancer patients and survivors, and sometimes… [Read More]

When a colleague has cancer it can impact the whole team. Here are some ways to support them throughout the process

Posted: 7th July 2017

Finding out a colleague has cancer, particularly if you work very closely with them, can be a big shock. Often they are our friends as well as colleagues and the organisation’s focus is very much on supporting the affected employee. This is as it should be, but the impact on the wider team shouldn’t be… [Read More]

The importance of good communication when supporting an employee with cancer

Posted: 28th June 2017

Talking about cancer in the workplace isn’t always easy. It can be frightening, awkward to discuss, and very personal. Some people find it easy to talk about their cancer but others are more private. Factors like gender, age or cultural differences can also make a conversation more difficult. For example, some men may not want… [Read More]

Top tips on how to support a colleague during and after cancer treatment

Posted: 22nd March 2017

Cancer is having a huge impact within the workplace and this will continue and increase for the foreseeable future. Although long-term absence[1] (lasting over four weeks) only accounts for 5% of all absence episodes, it typically accounts for 30–40% of total working time lost. In 2013 it was estimated to cost the UK £4bn per… [Read More]

Managing the performance of people affected by cancer

Posted: 6th December 2016

Here are a couple of case studies to get you thinking: can you spot what the employers should have done differently in the two case studies below? Case 1: A friend of mine, relatively new in a senior role, was diagnosed with cancer. Keen to keep on working during her chemo and with no real… [Read More]

Is your long-term sickness policy fit for work and cancer?

Posted: 23rd September 2016

Returning to work is not a sprint, it’s more like a marathon and sometimes there need to be pauses along the way to draw breath. It’s not a seamless progression, but a long and winding road. Is your long term sickness policy fit for purpose? Read full article here Written for Macmillan Cancer Support, September 2016

Managing someone coping with the long term side effects of cancer

Posted: 15th March 2016

If you read my last blog you’ll recall that I wrote, ‘returning to work is not a sprint, it’s more like a marathon and sometimes there needs to be pauses along the way to draw breath. It’s not a seamless progression but a long and winding road’. In most cases this is a journey which… [Read More]

Why is managing cancer at work different? Because it’s cancer.

Posted: 1st March 2016

Part of the work we do at Working With Cancer is to support the line managers of those with cancer. Managing the return to work process of a person with cancer can be like walking a tightrope. You want to do the right thing, to show compassion in what are incredibly difficult circumstances. But you’re… [Read More]

What does the Equality Act mean for Employers?

Posted: 7th September 2015

Line managers, as the statistics show*, often don’t realise that the Equality Act 2010 (Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Northern Ireland) covers cancer or understand what is meant by ‘reasonable adjustments’. So, for example, after six to eight weeks of a phased return, they typically expect an ‘employee’ recovering from cancer treatment to be ‘back to… [Read More]

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