Rhosanna Jenkins http://www.theaccidentspecialists.co.uk 5m 813
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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Making the decision to return to work after a long absence due to illness can be a daunting prospect but fear not. With a positive attitude and these helpful tips you will soon be ready to get back to the workplace and make a brand new start.
Take It Slowly
Research has shown that failing to return to work at all can lead to poorer general health and even relapses. A work environment may provide you with stability, or simply a chance to get out of the house.
Many companies will offer part-time employment as a way of easing you back into work. You may be given lighter duties or responsibilities when you return initially. This does not mean that your boss believes you cannot cope; they are simply looking out for your welfare.
Keeping a journal during your first few weeks back on the job may provide you with an outlet for any anxieties, as well as helping you map your progress.
Boost Your Confidence
Long-term illness or injury can significantly knock your confidence. Rebuilding your faith in yourself before you start work can really help you readjust. Learning a new skill or volunteering within your local community will provide you with a sense of satisfaction. There are a variety of opportunities on offer, from charity work to college courses, so you are bound to find something that suits you.
This exercise also has an added bonus – it will impress your employer.
Update Your Skills
One of the scariest aspects of returning to work after a long break is the fear that everything will have changed. You will need to keep informed about occupational developments. Online articles or professional magazines may help you keep up to date with progress in your chosen field. Contacting colleagues or your employer is another possibility.
Technology is constantly updating, so there may have been some IT advancements during your time away. The important thing is not to panic about this. Everyone will have needed time to adapt to the change; you are just doing this a little later, which can mean you have more sources of advice.
Be Prepared for Questions
Curiosity is human nature. Your co-workers were probably concerned about you. You may get tired of people asking whether you are ok, but they are only trying to show their support.
If you work as part of a team, your manager may ask permission to share updates on your condition with other team members. Remember, you do not have to agree to this. It is up to you how much you decide to share. However, many people find that having the support of their colleagues helps them readjust to the workplace.
Find a New Career
In some instances, the illness or injury may have affected your ability to perform your previous job. This is frequently the case when the work required intensive manual labour. If your illness was linked to occupational stress, a career change may be your preferred way forward.
There are many important questions to consider when searching for a new career. Be sure to take into account your key skills and the type of employment (full or part-time) you require.
Know the Facts about Compensation
Many people consider returning to work before they are truly ready in order to limit their loss of earnings. Researching the facts about benefits and compensation will show you that help is available. If your work absence was caused by an injury or industrial disease, information regarding what benefits you are entitled to during your absence can be found at your local Job Centre Plus. If your absence was caused by an industry sustained at work, you should be entitled to compensation. Likewise, industrial disease claims can be made if your illness was contracted due to working conditions. Both could help you financially and mean you don’t rush back to work before you are fit and ready.
Ask For Help
Whether you need a full back-to-work plan or a personal cheerleading team to keep you motivated, support is available. This could be in the form of friends, family, colleagues or even a professional career counsellor. The important thing to remember is that you should never be afraid to ask for help.
Returning to work can provide a return to normality, but after a long illness it can prove a big step. Actively preparing for the workplace, renewing your confidence and taking it one step at a time can leave you almost raring to return to the grindstone.
If you have any other top tips, or if you have successfully negotiated this transition and want to share your story, please leave your comments below.
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About the Author
Rhosanna Jenkins is a budding writer, with an interest in a variety of topics. She recommends the The Accident Specialists.