The "Great Resignation" refers to the mass exodus of many employees from their jobs at record rates seen in the Spring and Summer of 2021. Covid-19 has resulted in a shift of the perspectives of many. People are questioning their path, what they want out of life and, for many, what they want out of work.
The power dynamic between employers and employees (both current and potential) has long been imbalanced. Employers held the upper hand in many ways: making decisions about wages, benefits, health insurance, schedules, and so much more that affects the day-to-day life of employees. However, the pandemic has caused many to stop and think about how they want their careers to play out. With a newfound appreciation for and focus on ambitions, passions, and goals, many are calling it quits at their jobs where they feel like something is missing. Employers are noticing and scrambling to make necessary changes to keep valuable employees and attract new ones.
Cancer patients and survivors are no strangers to facing challenges at work and often having to adapt to the needs of the company versus the other way around. This new shift in power is likely welcomed news.
Our friends at The Muse came out with a list of perks that are being seen more often from employers who are recognizing the need to support their employees, and offer fair wages, good benefits, and more flexibility. Below we've highlighted three that are particularly beneficial to cancer survivors.
More remote work opportunities and flexible schedules. Schedules and commutes are often noted as challenges among working people with a cancer diagnosis. Perhaps the fatigue from treatment makes getting out of the house on time impossible, or the standstill traffic on the way to work drains energy necessary to be productive at work, cancer survivors have long recognized the benefits of remote work and the option for a more flexible schedule. Additionally, those concerns about the risks of office work with a weakened immune systems are being taken much more seriously by employees after witnessing the serious consequences of Covid-19.
Expanded health and mental health benefits. The healthcare system has responded to the pandemic in new ways and the accessibility of care has increased with more providers offering telehealth visits. More employers are offering health insurance that includes telehealth options. Additionally, more emphasis has been placed on mental health and thus more mental health services are now included in health benefits offered by employers.
Adequate (or unlimited) paid vacation, personal days, and sick leaves. Employers are finally taking into account the need for self-care and how important time off is for both the health of employees but also the ability to be productive. Burnt out, stressed, overworked employees are more likely to quit or produce subpar work. By increasing the access to time off without fear of retaliation or job security, employees will feel more supported and appreciated and in turn be more loyal and devoted to their company. It's a win-win for both parties.
All of this is not to say that all companies will offer these perks, but it does open the door for current and potential employees to ask about benefits that may have once seemed taboo. In a year where the world shuttered at home, many employers realized their staff was able to produce the same caliber of work from their home office. A more supportive system for the mental health of employees by the offering of better mental health care coverage and access to more time off, really sets the stage for a healthier workplace, better work-life balance, and a more devoted staff.
When providing guidance to cancer survivors on how to approach their employer about their needs, we often say "the worst they can say is no" and this goes to prove that the landscape is changing and companies are likely more open to creative solutions to challenges.
CAC offers a number of resources that can help as you figure out how to communicate your needs and what is important to you as you look for work, or advocate for yourself at your current job.
- Register to join us for our Communicating Effectively webinar on November 3rd for tips and tools on communicating your needs and starting some of the more challenging conversations at work.
- Watch the recording of our Setting Boundaries webinar, offering ways to establish clear and health boundaries in your personal and work life.
- Read articles on: Exploring Your Options, Interviewing, and Requesting Reasonable Accommodations.
- Our free publications (in English and Spanish) available for download or hardcopy.