Tips to ease the transition back to work after an injury
Have you been out of the workplace for some time due to injury? If so, the prospect of entering regular work again may seem daunting. However, with the right preparation, support and communication, returning to work after injury can often represent a fresh start.
For many people with injuries, being out of a working environment for a lengthy period is difficult. The lack of interaction with colleagues, frustration with physical limitations, and a general lack of structure to life can be a challenge. For most people suffering an injury that keeps them away from work, their main focus is on returning to full-time employment as soon as possible.
During your time off, ensure lines of communication are kept open with your employer, and inform them about the progress of your recovery. If there are skills updates and developments you need to be abreast of, make it your business to learn them so that you don’t get left behind.
Let your manager or supervisor know how you feel about re-entering the workplace, and tell them when you are likely to return. It may be possible to return earlier if your role at work can be adapted to take any physical limitations into consideration. If mobility around the working environment is a problem, consider strategies such as alterations to your office or workstation. An Electric wheelchair is also an option to help keep you on the move.
Change can be good
Suffering from a serious illness or injury doesn’t mean you can never work again. Changing and adapting to new challenges is all part of the recovery process, and it is important to source the right advice and support to help you. A visit to the Citizens Advice Bureau is a smart move as they will be able to give information about your rights, legislation and benefits and other local support services you can tap into to help speed your recovery.
At work, conditions may need adjustment to allow for your changed circumstances. Keeping an open dialogue with your employers, medical practitioners and other support services ensures a smooth transition back to work. Do not rush to return if you are not ready; this is counter-productive and could set back your recovery. Depending on your occupation, it might be viable to work from home before re-entering the workplace permanently. Trust, confidence and expectations between all parties need managing well to avoid crossed wires and disappointing outcomes.
If your injury means you can no longer perform your previous working duties, re-training for another role within the organisation may be an option. Keeping an open mind is key in the transition process post-injury. Remember that a changing role could offer more opportunities for career advancement and professional development. Your enforced time off may have given you the chance to consider alternative career paths you’d like to focus on. This hiatus in your career could actually be the turning point you’ve been subconsciously seeking.
Injury or serious illness doesn’t have to mean the end of your career. Return to work on your own terms in your own time, and there’s no reason to assume physical limitations will slow your rise up the career ladder.