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Organising a return to work with your employer

When you have made the decision to return to your previous place of work, following cancer treatment, there are steps you can take to help to ensure that everything runs smoothly:

1. Arrange a meeting with your line manager and HR

Open lines of communication with your line manager, HR and (if you have access to it) Occupational Health well in advance of the date that you are considering returning to work so that reasonable adjustments can be planned and implemented prior to your return.

2. Be open and honest about your situation

Be upfront when speaking with management so that they can, where possible, address your needs and concerns before you are back at work. This will give you confidence to return and allows them to consider what they can realistically provide.

3. Be realistic and generous to yourself when describing how much you can do

Remember that things that once felt easy may now take more our of you. Organising the routine of life at home, travelling to work, and even socialising with colleagues can often be more tiring than you might anticipate; and that's even before you start working. It can be better, both for your own confidence and for effective planning and adjustments, to start small and expand.

4. Be honest about the specific parts of your job role that you would like to start with

By requesting to focus on the parts of your job that you enjoy, you are likely to find the return to work less stressful and your confidence might build quicker. It can also be less draining on your energy levels. You will often find that employers, not wanting to overload you, will be grateful for some guidance about what you feel ready to tackle in the early days.

5. Visit your workplace before your start date

If you have not seen your work colleagues for some time, it can be beneficial to organise a time to go back in to your workplace before your return date. This will give your colleagues an opportunity to ask questions while still giving you control over how long you stay and when you leave. Then when you do start back at work, you will be more comfortable with the space and hopefully with everyone else.


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