Having a work-related injury or illness can have a big impact on your life and what you are able to do. For a short time at least, you may not be able to do what you used to do, either at work or at home. A lot of research has been done about how important work is to people, and the impact not working has on our wellbeing and general health. If you’ve been off work for a while, you might be feeling isolated from your workmates and the routine of your job.
It’s really important to keep focused on returning to work and normal life. The fact is that research and related studies clearly show that the longer people are off work, the less likely it is they will return.
Being at work also helps a person’s sense of self esteem, morale and productivity – no one enjoys being in limbo for weeks or months at a time.
Staying active is important too – we now know that the old-fashioned advice of bed rest and staying at home until you’re completely well often isn’t the best therapy and could even prolong your injury.
Easing back into the job – even if you’re not fully recovered – can help you get better sooner. If your doctor has cleared you for a partial return to work, you may be able to go back to your old job doing fewer hours, or to a modified or new role, until you are well enough to return to your usual routine.
An injury in the workplace affects a lot of people – your family, your boss and your workmates. Your employer has a vitally important part to play in helping you return to work, so stay in touch and talk to them about your options.
For further information from the Victorian Workcover Authority – Getting back to work.
For further information from the Victorian Workcover Authority – What to do if a worker is injured.
Reference – Gerdtham & Johannesson, Journal of Health Economics 22, 2003; Engelmen, Engelmen & Patrick, riZx Inc. quoting Hartford nsurance Group; WorkCover claims data 2005.