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A Quick Guide to Returning to Work After Long-term Sickness



A Quick Guide to Returning to Work After Long-term Sickness

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There are many reasons for long-term sick leave. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, at least 363,000 more people in the UK are out of work due to long-term sickness.

Whether physical or mental, health conditions affect employees in variety of different industries and professions. And the longer an individual stays off work, the more likely they might be to develop a psychological barrier about going back.

If you’re about to return to work after a longer period of sick leave, try the following steps to make it more manageable.

1. Listen to specialist advice

Firstly, only commit to returning to work once you’ve received the official go-ahead. Whether it’s from your doctor, physiotherapist, or another allied health professional, it’s important that you only return to work once you’re ready.

Get in touch with your company HR department, where appropriate, to make sure you’ve got a specific date in mind for your return. If you’re feeling anxious or worried about going back, it could be a good idea to seek some counselling.

In the aftermath of a particularly traumatic injury, consulting personal injury lawyers could take the weight off your shoulders when it comes to organising your return to work.

2. Remember: Preparation is key

If you have a strong team dynamic at work, why not meet one or more of your colleagues for coffee before you go back? You’ll then be able to catch up on any important news or changes you’ve missed – in an informal, low-pressure setting.

However, don’t try to do everything all at once: if you’re finding it overwhelming, you might choose to go back part-time or just work half days instead. Try to recognise tasks that feel harder, take longer, or that simply aren’t achievable anymore.

3. Ease back into routine

You’ll need to settle back into your routine before you start working again. For example, if your sleeping schedule has changed, for example, you could try to start sleeping a little bit earlier before your working week recommences.

However, try not to check your emails or think about your work tasks while you’re still recovering. To keep your mind busy, you could choose to play board games with family, keep a journal, or start learning a new language.

4. Seek help when you need it

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for support from your colleagues, especially if you’re struggling. Discuss any confidential issues with your HR or management team to get appropriate support quickly.

It’s crucial for your confidence to feel as though you’re making gradual progress and not struggling or failing. If you start to feel weighed down quickly after returning to work, try to remember that rest and recovery are critical.

Work might help you feel optimistic but going back too soon can be damaging later on – so always prioritise your long-term health.

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