If you have been absent from work as a result of a long term injury or illness, returning after such a lengthy time may seem a little intimidating. Try to maintain a positive outlook and instead view it as an opportunity to make a fresh start – many even choose this time to begin a brand new career or make the move to another workplace.
Before starting your new job
When thinking about kick-starting your career, you should consider your current situation, and whether your circumstances have changed following your illness or injury. Before you get started on actively searching for work, think about:
Will I need to enter a new line of work and do I want a different job?
If your illness or injury means that you can’t return to an active, physical job, you should think about other areas in which you can work. For example, if you have previously been involved in the building trade, you can look to gain work in health and safety and quality management, meaning you can stay in the same industry while steering clear of physical labour.
What work can I gain with my expertise?
Commonly, the skills and experience picked up in one workplace are transferable and can be used in a wide variety of other jobs. Jot down your knowledge and abilities, and think about other types of work that require employees with similar skills.
Alternatively, can I go back to my previous career?
If you don’t think that your illness or injury will affect your ability to work, you can go back to your previous line of work. However, during time off, many people feel that they want to take the opportunity to change, and look into moving to another office or working environment.
Do I need to update my skills to return to my old line of work?
There may have been new developments or working practices introduced while you were on leave, so check that your skills set is completely up-to-date. You can do this by reading relevant websites and magazines, or even contacting a previous colleague who would be happy to help.
Returning to work
Whether you have returned to your previous workplace or started a new job, it is important that you are entirely comfortable following the move. You should feel completely supported by your line manager, and in no way pushed or stressed, while being able to flourish into an active, competent member of the team.
It is also important to pay close attention to your health, ensuring that your illness or injury doesn’t reoccur or worsen over time. You should always make sure that you inform an employer of your condition or illness before you commence working so they may take steps to prevent any further injury or deterioration to a pre-existing condition. If required, your new employer should carry out risk assessments on your working environment and offer to assist in any way they can to ensure that they do not exacerbate conditions such as asthma, dermatitis and cumulative back strain.
For example, if you have previously endured a repetitive strain injury (RSI), speak with your employer so they can look into introducing specialist equipment, training and break policies so that your condition doesn’t return or deteriorate. However, if they fail to take action, which causes your injury to return, you can then get in contact with specialist RSI solicitors to receive compensation for their negligence.
With this valuable information, hopefully your return to work after long term sick leave will be a happy and successful move, free from trouble or further health complications.
Jonathan Corris is the Head of Direct & Online Marketing at Roberts Jackson Solicitors. His role is to oversee the daily management of the firm’s websites, landing pages and social media accounts as well as conducting research, leaflet drops, writing articles for various Law Magazines and websites, online & print advertising. Jonathan also manages the firms Brand awareness strategy along with all general PR duties.