Easing Back Into Work After an Injury
Choosing to return to the same workplace that you became injured in can be challenging for any employee. Before you return to work, remember that there are many things you can do to make your experience more manageable as you transition back into it. Here are five tips to keep in mind.
1. Talk with Your Doctor First
Before returning to work after an injury, you should first consult with your doctor to ensure that you are cleared to perform your usual job functions. If you work in a high-risk job that may require operating machinery or heavy lifting, it may be recommended that you take some extra time to heal your injuries fully.
Although you may feel healthy and strong enough to return, there may be other treatment plans that the doctor will want to discuss with you. Similarly, the work injury may have aggravated or triggered a more serious issue that should be taken care of before you head back into the field.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
When continuing treatment after a work injury or taking certain medications, it may be necessary to adjust your work schedule to decrease the chances of further injury. Additional treatments may also require you to take days off from work and can put you even further behind on tasks. Having off days already built into your schedule upon return can help you ease back into the workplace while still accounting for continued healing.
3. Discuss Necessary Accommodations
If your work injury left you with a disability, it might serve you well to have conversations with your employer about accommodations that may be needed to get your work done. This may include:
- Ability to have a service animal in the workplace
- Modified work schedules
- Different work equipment (like a desk or a chair)
- Accessibility features throughout the workplace
- And more!
These are all reasonable requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You can view a full list of reasonable accommodations here.
4. Be Honest About Your Recovery
Heading back into the workplace after having time off with an injury can be stressful for both you and your employer. During this time, it is essential that you be completely honest about where you are in the recovery process and let your employer know if you need more time to heal.
Going back to work too soon may put you at risk of a more significant injury down the line and inhibit your ability to continue working long-term. If you need more time before working again or need a couple of extra breaks throughout the day, be upfront with your employer or supervisor about how you are feeling.
5. Know Your Limitations
The workplace may become the last place you want to be after an injury, no matter the severity. In fact, it is not uncommon for you to feel some kind of anxiety or PTSD when entering into the place or performing tasks that caused you to become injured. One of the most important things to remember during this time is to know your limitations and be confident in setting boundaries of what you can (or are willing to) do.
Depending on your industry, job tasks that used to be routine and simple may come with additional struggles that you might be unprepared for during the healing process. If this is the case, there is no shame in telling your employer that you are not physically able to perform a task at this time or finding another job that suits your needs.
Work Injury? J. Bradley Baker LLC Can Help.
Our Lexington workers’ compensation attorney has over 25 years of experience in the field helping injured victims recover from workplace accidents. Know that you are not alone in this healing process and have a right to compensation for injuries sustained in the workplace.