8 Tips to Help Employee Get Back to Work

The reality of life is that sometimes people get sick or injured. These illnesses and injuries can prevent them from working. Sometimes it could be for significant periods of time. Many employers are keen to support their staff when they have to take a leave of absence. If you value an employee, you might want to do all you can to help them return. A lot of people will want to get back to work but may not be able to jump straight into the role they were performing before. There are many things you can do to help them get back into work in their own time. This will ensure you don’t lose a valuable employee forever.

  1. Stay in Touch

While your employee is away, you need to stay in touch in the correct you. You have to have a balance between not speak to them and badgering them about their return. Keeping in contact can reassure them that you haven’t forgotten about them. You can let them know you are there, and you will help them when they want to come back to work. However, you need to avoid trying to involve them in projects or questioning them on their return. Unless they have asked to do some work from home, allow them their time to recover in their own time.

  1. Offer Independent Health Assessments

A health assessment can let both you and your employee know how and when they can return to work. Of course, they might have their own doctor who will make recommendations. However, providing an independent assessment for them will allow you to focus on their ability to return to work. A doctor or nurse can determine whether they might be ready to come back. They can perform a physical and psychological examination. For example, at Health Assured, an assessment can result in guidance for employer and employee. It can help you to come up with a plan so that you can help your staff member back into work.

  1. Discuss Different Ways of Returning to Work

There are a few ways someone could be helped back into work. Having some different options that you can offer your employee will help. If you only have one option, and they don’t feel comfortable with it, they could take longer to come back to work. Two of the options you could pose are flexible working or a phased return. If you allow flexible working, they could choose which hours suit them best. They could also work from home. Or they can fit their work around appointments or other commitments. A phased return could mean that your employee gradually begins to work more hours. They could start with a half-day a couple of days a week and slowly work up to working full-time. This helps them to reconnect and stay in touch with the company.

  1. Provide Appropriate Accommodations

When your employee returns to work, they might require accommodations they didn’t need before. It’s important to remember that it’s a requirement to provide reasonable accommodation. There are lots of things that could be helpful for someone returning to work. For example, you could provide someone with extra breaks if they need to have regular rests. Adjustments could be made in bathrooms for someone with a physical difficulty. If someone is dealing with mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, it might help if they had somewhere quiet to sit for five minutes. Adjustments might also include tweaking their job description. There may be tasks they now find difficult. It’s important to discuss these things with your employee. You can come up with solutions that you both agree upon to make things easier for them.

  1. Consider Offering an Alternative Role

In some cases, your employee might find it hard to return to their previous role, at least for the time being. If you want to keep them on, you can consider offering them an alternative position. It could be a temporary or permanent arrangement. Many businesses allow for a reshuffling of responsibilities among employees. For example, if you have a small business, several of your staff might share the same tasks between them. Someone else could take on the majority of one task. So your employee returning to work can focus on something they are more capable of doing.

  1. Provide In-work Support

There might be some ways to offer support at work from a counselor, a mentor, or a designated confidant. You can assign them someone they can go to for help or if they have any issues. This could be someone in HR or a manager who can act as a liaison and advocate. Sometimes, an employee might require extra assistance too. In this case, they might need to bring a personal aid to work with them. You can ensure that there is space for their assistant. However, this can often involve just providing somewhere for them to sit. There could also be equipment they need to use, which you can make room for.

  1. Monitor Progress

It will be helpful to assess the situation and your employee’s return to work at regular intervals. When they first come back, they might be limited to a certain workload. But as they get used to being back at work, you might want to reassess the situation and see if things should change. Sometimes they will want to keep things the same, but other times they will want to adjustments. Try to have set times when you will have a meeting and discussion, as well as perhaps a health assessment. You can talk about how everything is going and what the next move will be.

  1. Return to Former Role

Not everyone will be able to go back to the position they were doing before. They might be able to do their former role at 80% but won’t be able to do everything. Those who can take up their previous responsibilities might take a while to get there. Make sure you’re doing all you can to help them.

Helping an employee back to work can be a long process. However, if you value them as an employee, it is worth the effort.

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