If you’ve suffered a workplace injury and are close to recovering, you’ve no doubt started thinking about going back to work and taking all the necessary steps before that happens. The most important thing after you’ve suffered an injury, workplace or otherwise, is to take the time to properly heal. Otherwise, you risk further injury and your medical condition might deteriorate.
However, not all employers are happy with their workers taking too long to recover and urge them to get back to duty as soon as their doctor deems they are ready. However, your Employer cannot force you to go back to work if the doctor recommends you need to rest more. If they do try, you should immediately consult a workplace injury legal expert.
If however, you feel ready to get back into the machine, there are some things you need to consider. Getting back to your job can be difficult or even impossible, and both you and your employer need to understand how the process works.
You Should Take Some Precautions
Returning to work unprepared or performing tasks you might not be suited to after the injury could threaten your long-term recovery and your finances. However, if you plan on returning to work you need to take some precautions not to make matters worse.
Don’t go back if you’re Not Ready
First and foremost, if your doctor decides you’re not ready to return to work yet, don’t do it even if your employer is adamant. Returning to work with the injury not properly healed could affect your recovery and lead to another injury. If your workers’ compensation benefits were denied you should consider hiring an experienced workers’ comp attorney instead of going to work at all costs.
Let the Employer Know about Doctor’s Restrictions
In other cases, the doctor might approve getting back to work but with certain restrictions. Your employer will then be obligated to find you a new light-duty position instead of your old one if the doctor deems it necessary. Make sure to bring a copy of the doctor’s restrictions and if the employer asks you to overstep them, politely decline and contact your workers’ comp attorney.
Document Any Irregularities
If your employer takes action that might be interpreted as punishment or discrimination, make sure to document it and take it to your attorney. This includes cases when the employer orders you to exceed your restrictions, lowers your salary or otherwise does something as a reprisal. Take a note of the date and the details and take it to your attorney.
Benefits of Going Back to Work
However, if you’re ready to go back to work, this could have numerous benefits, including both medical and financial ones. Here’s how going back to work can help you on your road to recovery.
Physical Activity can Speed up your Recovery
Depending on the type of your injury, physical activity may actually help speed up your recovery. During your recovery, you may earn an extra pound or two which will be very hard to get rid of if you get too used to the sedentary lifestyle. Getting out of bed and off to work will improve your blood flow and the movement will benefit your mobility.
It Can Help With Depression and Anxiety
The longer you stay at home without any social contact, the more prone you are to developing issues like anxiety and depression. Going back to work can help alleviate these issues as you will spend more time with colleagues and friends. Also, the longer you stay away from work the harder it will be to go back once the doctor finally deems you are ready. The more you dwell on returning to work, the more likely you are to become anxious about it.
Going back to work can improve your relationship
If you’re recovering at home for too long your partner may begin to feel less patience, especially if your injury has changed their lifestyle and forced them to stay at home. Going back to work can help mend your relationship and is a positive example for your kids. Seeing you back on your feet will teach them a valuable lesson they will remember down the road.
How to Make Your Return to Work Easier
Being anxious about going back to work is normal, but there are steps you can take to make your return easy and enjoyable. With support from your employer and colleagues, your return to work will be nothing but joyful. Here’s what you can do to ensure that.
Go Easy in the Beginning
Going back to work is not only stressful but also a scary prospect for most injured workers. You might be concerned you don’t have the strength to perform your job right or might spend your day constantly afraid that you’ll aggravate your injury. And if you’ve spent your recovery lying in bed, you might not have the stamina to go through an entire workday. That’s why you should take it easy during the first couple of weeks. Your employer should allow you to work shorter hours and perform tasks that require less labor.
Change Your Role
Going back to the same workplace where you sustained your injury can be a traumatic experience, some workers never recover from. If you feel uneasy going back to the place where your accident occurred, you should ask your employer to find you a different assignment. That will help reduce your stress and make you more productive.
Have Regular Checkups with your Doctor
If you are scared that all the extra strain will make your condition worse, you should schedule regular appointments with your doctor, so they can monitor your conditions and warn you if you going back to work is affecting your recovery.