Co-Workers & Managers
Ideas for Co-Workers:
One of the hardest things about a cancer diagnosis besides fear and loneliness is the idea that the world will go on without you in it. As co-workers, you can give her reassurance that she is needed and missed. Here are a few things you might consider:
Take up a collection from her team and purchase several greeting cards and stamps. Have everyone sign them at once. Assign someone to drop a card to her in the mail once or twice a week. She will know she is missed.
Send out group distribution e-mails with updates (with her permission). Encourage her co-workers to send cards, letters, e-mails, make phone calls, etc. to let her know she is missed.
Get her regular lunch buddies together for an impromptu “picnic” at her house. Make sure she is up for company before you drop by with the food. If not today, try again tomorrow.
When she returns to work understand that her energy may not be what it was before she was diagnosed. Treatment regimens have a way of taking their toll on the patient. Be understanding and provide a “buddy assist” wherever possible for the first few months.
Tips for her Manager and H.R. Managers
As her manager it’s important to remember that it costs a great deal more to hire and train a new employee than to work with existing employees. If you make her transition back into the workforce a smooth one, and one in which she is excited to return to, you will be steps ahead.
It can take several months before a cancer patient returns to “normal.” The treatments used to fight cancer have an accumulative affect and can take a long time to leave her system. She will likely be fatigued for some time. Offering her a part time schedule may be one solution to easing her back, or providing an assistant to help with stressful projects may be another.
Be understanding of her needs, and not just focused on the bottom-line. The human cost is much more important.
If you need any additional training or assistance on this, please contact our national office and speak to someone about our corporate program entitled, “Success Strategies for Helping Employees Return to Work After Cancer.” We offer this program to corporations across the country.