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How to Help an Employee Return to Work Successfully

December 20 2019 - Returning to work for an employee who has suffered an illness or injury can be a very overwhelming experience. It's essential for an employee to feel confident in their return, and the way you manage the situation as a superior can have a profound effect on the process for the better. The priority should be the employee's safety, comfort, and productivity within their job role. There is no point in the employee returning to work if they simply cannot fulfil their obligations due to a lack of confidence or ability. How you treat them can, therefore, make all the difference.

Make Contact Before They Officially Return

The employee may be feeling anxious about returning to work, especially if they have not spoken to anybody - colleagues or managers - since being absent from work due to illness or injury. Reaching out before they officially return can help them feel more confident about their impending return-to-work date. This could be a simple call or email asking how they are and whether there is anything they need in preparation, or you may want to arrange a more official discussion with them to ensure that everything is in order.

Completely Support Them

Your employee needs to know that they have your full support from the moment they return to work. It's a beneficial idea to meet with them and speak with them straight away upon their arrival, which will enable you to discuss with them their ability to manage tasks, what they feel they can comfortably achieve and how they would like their work schedule to be. This shows that you care about their comfort and recovery, and they will, therefore, feel more supported.

Your support should also be in the form of keeping a close eye on them, and being aware of any changes or worsening in condition. It may be that your employee appears to be suffering more which may be a result of medical negligence; you can, therefore, encourage and support them in making any necessary claims with

Be Flexible

The employee may need further time off to attend ongoing medical appointments, or may only be able to work a certain amount of hours before needing rest. Show that you understand and try and be flexible with their routine. Permit them time off for any appointments needed and work around them.

Speak to Other Employees on Their Behalf

If your employee's time off has been for personal issues regarding their illness or injury, or perhaps they simply don't want everyone else to know the extent of it, they will feel more comfortable and supported if you check in with them what they would like the official stance to be. You can then translate this to the rest of the team, such as a brief team meeting which explains why the employee has been off and whether they would like questions about it avoided. This ensures that the employee isn't faced with a barrage of questions upon their return to work.



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