Unless a job-related injury or illness is severe enough to prevent you from ever working again, there will likely be a point where you are well enough to go back to your job.
If you are at this point, you may have several questions and concerns about this process, but there are some ways you can make this transition easier.
Talk to your doctor
Before you go back to work, be sure to get medical clearance from your doctor. Your employer cannot force you back against medical advice, and workers’ compensation benefits should continue until your treating physician says you can go back to work.
Because of this, it is essential that you talk to your doctor. Discuss all your symptoms and do not minimize them. Doing so could lead a doctor to clear you to return to work prematurely.
You will also want to talk to your doctor about how you can prevent re-injury and setting yourself back in your recovery. Discuss actions to avoid, possible accommodations you may need, and any side effects of your medication to worry about.
Make a plan with your employer
Once your doctor clears you, it can be wise to talk to your employer about what your return to work will entail. You should discuss:
- What the expectations are for ramping back up to your previous duties
- Your hours
- Any accommodations you may need
- Changes that have happened since you were last working
If you have questions or concerns about talking to your employer, you can also consult Human Resources or an attorney to ensure you understand your rights and benefits.
Know (and respect) your limits
Working should not endanger your life or cause preventable pain. Listen to your doctor’s guidance and refrain from doing anything that could cause re-injury or another injury. If your employer wants you to do work that causes pain or that you are uncomfortable doing, speak up.
Returning to work after a job-related injury can be stressful. But when you follow doctor’s orders, talk to your employer and respect your limits, you can avoid being overwhelmed by the process.