Information and advice to both employers and employees about going back to work after cancer.
With more than 170,000 cancer survivors in Ireland, more and more people are coming through or living positively with cancer than ever before. Receiving a cancer diagnosis can have a lasting impact and it can be daunting for a survivor to consider returning to work and confusing for employers to understand how to help support that transition.
An Employee’s Guide to Returning to Work after Cancer
Returning to work after cancer, or while still undergoing treatment, can be a daunting prospect. By planning a phased return and knowing what to expect, the transition will be easier.
Make a Return to Work Plan
- Talk openly with your employer about your concerns
- Consider your duties/responsibilities and ask for changes in the workplace that need to be made. Talk to your employer about reducing stressful parts of the role such as deadlines or achieving targets
- Agree a phased return-to-work such as working shorter/alternate days and building up your working hours
- Talk to your GP or healthcare professional about a graduated return to work and how to manage this
- Consider changing job or taking on a temporary role if you’re initially unable to carry out your usual job
- Consider asking for refresher training to increase your confidence and to keep up to-date with changes
Once You’ve Returned to Work
- Agree with your employer what you want your work team and colleagues to be told about your cancer journey
- Schedule regular meetings with your employer for feedback on your work and to discuss any challenges
- Consider working with a ‘buddy’ for additional support
- Give yourself regular breaks. You will most likely feel tired at first but remember that your energy will increase over time
- Be patient with yourself. It may be some time before you can work full hours and meet the demands of the role
- Returning to work after cancer, or while still undergoing treatment, is an achievement in itself. Don’t expect too much too soon
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