An employee’s ability to work during treatment will depend on their diagnosis. For some people, continuing to work when they have cancer provides a sense of normality during a difficult time. There are things you can do to make working during treatment easier:
Facilitate working from home: try to make an exception for someone undergoing treatment even if it isn’t the norm in your organisation. The viruses and bacteria while commuting to and from the office and those present in the actual office environment itself, pose an additional threat to people with weakened immune systems from cancer treatment.
Flexible working: there may be times when your colleague is unable to work due to treatment and it’s aftereffects. When they are feeling better they may wish to work reduced hours.
Financial support: ensure your employee is fully aware of company policy on sick leave and any other supports they may be entitled to while they are ill.
Emotional support: inform your employee of any support they may be entitled to through an expat assistance programme. Professional counselling is invaluable for many people going through cancer treatment.
Contact with home: an expat working with cancer faces even more challenges than the average person as they are usually away from the support of family and friends. Do as much as possible to make staying in touch with the most important people easier. That might mean taking time out from the working day for a Skype call or additional trip home. It will help during a difficult time.
Develop a work plan: although it isn’t something most people want to think about when they receive a diagnosis of cancer, providing them with a realistic work plan can be a powerful form of support as it removes that concern from them. Work with their manager to put a plan in place so their work load is evenly distributed. It is a good idea to scope for unexpected absence as cancer treatment can be unpredictable.