Support employees with cancer - Business Works
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Support employees with cancer

by Tim Warren, Commercial Director, Harley Street Concierge One third of people living with cancer are of working age and so supporting employees has moved up the workplace agenda. We have developed a guide which provides bite-sized practical information developed by our team's advisers and specialist cancer nurses, reports Tim Warren, Commercial Director at Harley Street Concierge.

50,000 employees in the UK have a second full time 'job' caring for someone with cancer. Over 100,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year. 36% of employees have no form of support from their employer in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

With the cost of cancer to business estimated at £5.3billion we are launching our free guide for employers to mark World Cancer Day (4 February 2019). On average a cancer diagnosis in the family causes 27 days of direct absenteeism.

"The cancer journey is a rollercoaster of emotion especially shortly after you've been diagnosed" says TV and radio's Dr. Sarah Jarvis MBE. "Understanding your options, knowing what questions to ask, finding the most appropriate private specialists and organising appointments can be confusing and time-consuming. Support from such as Harley Street Concierge can help take you through each decision, appointment and treatment option, every step of the way."

The nature of cancer as an illness creates practical, familial and often financial pressures that impact the overall wellness of the individual. Two of the main stumbling blocks are employees feeling uncomfortable sharing the details of their situation and, subsequently, feeling discriminated against. On the other side, employers can feel uncomfortable knowing what support to offer and provide.

A clear vision and open dialogue is crucial as is genuine empathy and sensitivity. Our team has put together a checklist to help you manage someone who gets cancer. It is important that employers think about how to handle it well, how to understand what the employee is going through, get to grip with legal obligations and ask the right questions about return to work.

caring for people with cancer

When someone you manage gets cancer the guide navigates how you can help through this difficult time:

How to have the conversation with an employee:

  1. Prepare yourself for the conversation
  2. Respect confidentiality
  3. Stay flexible and keep communication lines open

How to understand what the employee is going through:

  1. Read up
  2. There are more than 200 types of cancer, each treated in a different way

How to get to grips with legal obligations:

  1. Familiarise yourself with what a reasonable adjustment looks like
  2. Don't assume a cancer patient wants to work less
  3. Refer to company guidelines and policies

How to ask the right questions about a return to work:

  1. Talk about returning to work
  2. Don't equate 'recovery' with 'cured'
  3. Managing survivorship and living with cancer

Our guide is supported by an employer support line and educational events. Not only does it make practical business sense to look after your employee, but as an employer giving the right kind of support says a lot about the overall culture of your organisation. We provide expert advice and support for employees and businesses at a fraction of the cost of private medical insurance. We ensure that your valued employees get the support that they need, when they need it most.

For more information and to get your copy of the guide, please visit: Harley Street Concierge

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