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Success Story: Cancer Is No Match for a Team Return-to-Work Effort

There are those exceptional employees whose dedication to your organization is unwavering, no matter what personal challenges they face. Even in the midst of a life-threatening illness like cancer, these individuals will do whatever it takes to remain productive in their roles. But that doesn’t mean they can do it on their own.

Assessing the Situation

A construction and maintenance supervisor refused to let her breast cancer diagnosis keep her away from her daily life. The employee endured lumpectomy surgery followed by extensive chemotherapy and additional radiation treatments. During this time, her surgical incision opened, causing an unexpected setback. However, despite her aggressive treatment and its painful side effects, she was determined to get back to work as soon as she could.

A Workplace PossibilitiesSM consultant contacted the employee after her surgery to evaluate her needs. The employee relayed her desire to get back to work quickly, but her compromised immune system meant she could not return to the office right away, or conduct the construction site inspections she was accustomed to. Because of nausea, extreme fatigue and numbness in her extremities caused by chemotherapy, working from home full time would have been unmanageable, as well.

Addressing the Obstacles

The Workplace Possibilities consultant helped the employee and her employer implement a return-to-work plan that addressed the obstacles she faced. For three months, the employee worked a reduced schedule from home. The schedule considered restrictions placed by her medical team and included scaled-back duties that were agreed to by her employer. During her time working from home, the Workplace Possibilities consultant assessed the employee’s work-from-home arrangement and communicated with the employee’s supervisor and medical provider about how things were going.

After a few months on the reduced schedule, the employee was able to return to work full time, resuming all of her previous responsibilities. The consultant stayed in touch with the employee and her supervisor until all were certain that no further accommodations were needed.

Providing a Foundation of Support

When cancer happens, even the strongest employees may struggle to manage returning to work on their own, no matter how motivated they may be. By working with a Workplace Possibilities consultant, you can help to provide a foundation of support your employees can count on as they work toward a full recovery.


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