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Returning to Work After Injury or Illness


Returning to Work After Injury or Illness

From time to time, we all need to take some time off work. In most cases a few days of rest is all we need, but sometimes the issue is more complex, and the recovery process is longer. Whether it’s a physical injury, illness or issues with our mental health, returning to work after a long period of absence can be daunting. If it’s appropriate to do so, it’s often a good idea to stay in touch with your manager or colleagues during your recovery so you can stay connected with any significant changes in procedure. This guide includes some useful tips to help you make the transition back to working life as simple as possible.

Prepare Your Paperwork

Before you return to work, you should make sure you’ve read and understood your company’s sick leave policy as this will outline the processes and paperwork required. For example, if you have been absent from work for more than seven consecutive days, you need to provide your employer with a ‘fit note’ from a doctor which states that you are well enough to return to work. It will also provide information about your condition and any current or future treatments you may need.

Consider a Phased Return

The longer you have been away from work, the harder it will be to slip straight back into a full-time role with all the pressures and responsibilities which come with it. You may want to think about a phased approach to returning to work. This could be by working reduced hours initially which gradually increase at a rate both you and your employer are comfortable with. If it’s suitable for your company and your role, you may be able to work from home for at least some of the time. If you and/or your employer would like advice on how best to get you back into work, contact the Fit for Work service. This government scheme provides free, expert and impartial work-related health advice.

Get the Right Support

When you’ve been out of work for a long period of time, it’s completely natural to feel frustrated, isolated and disconnected. This is not only true of your professional life, but also from a social point of view. Try to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, even if it’s through email or social media, and ensure you have the emotional support you need as well as medical care. This is particularly relevant if you’re struggling with mental health issues, life-changing injury or very serious illness such as cancer. There are many charities and support groups like Support Line which can provide confidential advice and support.

Research Your Rights

In some cases, injury or illness can also have financial implications in terms of lost earnings. If your suffering is due to the actions or negligence of another person, your employer or even a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation. However, the type and level of compensation will be unique to your situation. For more information about the difference between personal injury claims and medical negligence, visit

Talk to Your Manager

You should sit down with your manager to discuss your return to work. This is crucial not only in terms of getting back up to speed on what’s been going on while you’ve been off but also for your recovery. Are there any changes your employer can make to aid in your recovery or issues you’re concerned about? Ideally, you will be in contact with your manager during your absence, but if this has not been possible, it’s even more important that you organise a meeting with them either before your return or as soon as possible on your first day.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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