This month, the Work and Cancer team received the following question from an employer:
How can a manager support a team feeling under pressure while covering someone’s absence due to cancer?
Usually this type of situation arises for one of three reasons.
In summary, the real issue is usually about communication with the team; it is rarely if ever about the team resenting the fact that an individual is absent because he/she has cancer.
So, depending on the circumstances, I would advise the manager to get the individual’s permission to inform the team and other colleagues, as appropriate, about the reason for their absence. The Macmillan ‘Essential Work and Cancer’ Toolkit covers this very well and gives plenty of guidance on how to deal with this issue sensitively. I would also strongly advise the manager to discuss what the options are for relieving the pressure of work with the team, and of course with his/her manager. In doing this, the team will feel informed, included and consulted and any resentment is likely to be dissipated.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2020
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