Vocational rehabilitation and cancer support services have helped three out of four employees with long-term health problems return to work.
Research from Working To Wellbeing found that this rehab services can be an important retention tool, with 49 per cent of employees saying they would stay with their employer over the longer term if they offer this support for health conditions.
In addition the company found eight out of 10 line managers (78 per cent) agreed that personalised and timely vocational rehabilitation interventions result in better work and health outcomes for employees with cancer.
This research, coming just after World Cancer Day (4th Feb), found that 80 per cent of line managers agreed that rehabilitation to build physical, social and work skills is important after a long-term illness such as cancer.
Macmillan estimates there are currently 890,000 people of working age living with cancer in the UK. As the number of people of working age surviving cancer is expected to rise, this will see employers called upon more often to provide support to those transitioning back into work after treatment.
The research also sought feedback from employee who have had cancer, or are currently undergoing treatment for the disease. It found the majority were not satisfied with the services currently in place, and this trend was particularly pronounced among older workers. The research found:
- Four in 10 (43 per cent) were satisfied with the phased return-to-work programme set out by their employer, falling to a third (32 per cent) among those aged 55+
- Just 40 per cent were satisfied with a personalised return-to-work programme (25 per cent among those aged 55+)
- Less than 1 in 3 (29 per cent) were satisfied with physical modifications in the workplace, falling to 11 per cent of over 55s
- Over a third (36 per cent) were satisfied with the wellbeing / mental health support offered, falling to 25 per cent among those aged 55+
- More than a quarter (28 per cent) were satisfied with the level of coaching (11 per cent of over 55s)
- 4 in 10 (42 per cent) were satisfied with the level of flexible working (28 per cent of over 55s)
- Over a third (36 per cent) were satisfied with the reasonable adjustments to their job to manage their health
- Less than one in three (30 per cent) were satisfied with the career advice they’ve been offered by their employer. This figure is particularly low among women (25 per cent) and those aged 55+ (13 per cent)
Dr Julie Denning, managing director, chartered health psychologist at Working To Wellbeing and chair of the Vocational Rehabilitation Association says: “Over the last decade, our experience as a back-to-work rehabilitation specialist has found that most people with cancer want and need to be in work. Earlier diagnoses and developments in treatments mean that cancer survival rates are rising and more people with cancer are heading back into the workplace. This requires a shift in employer behaviour to ensure they can offer the support and tools required, and the training in place for line managers to implement it.
“Employers must understand how to prepare for both a phased, and personalised, return-to-work programme to accommodate the needs of their employees. Aside of their legal obligations, to ignore the importance of vocational rehabilitation risks impacting productivity, retention, morale and costs.”
Working To Wellbeing offers a cancer support service that focuses on physical, cognitive, psychological and emotional components of illness. It providers health coaching support with a vocational focus to help people restore their day-to-day functioning and quality of life and return to work when ready.
As part of this service Working to Wellbeing also supports line managers to implement return-to-work plans and help them to make reasonable adjustments for their employees.
It says that more than three in four of people it works with in its Cancer Work Support Service successfully sustained or returned to work.
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