10 things to do when returning to work after long term illness

There are so many reasons why any one of us could be off work with a long term illness. Returning to work may seem daunting and even overwhelming. Take these 10 steps to ensure you are ready.

1. Talk to your employer.

While you are off sick keep regular contact with your employer. It may just be an email once a month to see how things are but keeping in touch reassures your employer you intend to return. Agree a provisional return date and increase contact closer to the time.

2. Talk to your GP and or consultant.

Speak to your medical team and let them know you intend to go back to work. They may have advise on support your employer can give you or equipment necessary. They can also amend or advise regarding medication at work.

3. Consider a phased return.

Instead of jumping back in full force, which may be setting yourself up for a fall, consider a phased return to work. Maybe half days or less days per week and work your way up to full hours.

4. Have a workplace assessment.

Ask your employer for ergonomic workplace assessment. Having this done before your return could ease your transition into work

5. Ensure all equipment has been bought and is in place.

If there is any equipment recommended by your medical team or by the workplace assessment ensure that this is all ordered with a delivery date in good time.

6. Consider travel.

Look into whether the journey you used to make into work is still feasible. If your condition affects your resilience factor in travelling time into your proposed work day.

7. Support network.

Establish and mobilise your support network. Whether it’s making sure that meals are cooked and ready for you to reheat in the evenings, giving you a lift to work or taking care of the shopping – any help is going to be a Godsend.

8. Bulk cooking. Consider cooking in bulk and separating portions for freezing. This will help on those days you are too tired to cook and can be taken for lunch when the time comes.

9. Sort out medication. The routine that you have fallen into while you have been off work is about to change drastically. It is not unusual for you to forget to take your medication because of the changes. Make sure you have the medication you need to take while you are out of the house and set reminders. Failure to take your medication can be a set back to your health and your return to work.

10. Lastly, feedback if it is too much. Monitor the way you feel throughout your work day and also through the week. If you feel overwhelmed feedback to your employer or your GP. A slight change in work hours or medication are just a couple of the changes that can be made.

Most employers are very accommodating when it comes to returning to work. Legally your employer has an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure you are able to work if you have a disability. If your employer does not have their own Occasional Health department then a free workplace assessment can be done through the government scheme Access To Work.

Overall enjoy yourself. I, for one, really grew frustrated at being home and useless for so long and I’m chomping at the bit to get back to work. Don’t stress yourself out, enjoy it!.

Wheelchair Friendly London


Sometimes I have to wonder who I think I am. It’s true that a lot of people ignore a cause until it affects them personally. I guess I’m just one of those people. If you have been reading my health posts you will know that I am currently using a wheelchair. Having never had to use a chair before, every difficulty faced is new to me. Like the first time I tried to get on a bus, only the driver dropped the ramp without actually lowering the bus and I tried to wheel myself up I flipped over onto my back. Hello A&E.



Continue reading Wheelchair Friendly London

Anxiously waiting

Sitting at work today and I have checked my study record again on the off chance that my credit transfer has been done and I didn’t get an email. I really want to get all this started. I can’t wait to begin. I know initially that the adviser was asking me why I was applying so early as there was plenty of time but I am glad that I did. I knew that my situation was unique and it would take ages. Continue reading Anxiously waiting

Diary of a sick black woman: 6 of 6 – Escape is imminent

Progress! I was seen by a different doctor from the surgical team. She ordered an MRI to see what was going on with my back and also some blood tests. The MRI showed that although there was some shrinkage in my ruptured disc it was still pressing on my nerves which is continuing to cause sciatica. This should have no effect on my ability to walk. The blood test showed that I had a huge vitamin D deficiency. The optimal amount of vitamin D A person supposed to have is 70–80nmol/L . My test return of vitamin D level of 23nmol/L. I had a Vitamin D deficiency some years ago and thought that it was all sorted, seems I was wrong. Continue reading Diary of a sick black woman: 6 of 6 – Escape is imminent

Diary of a sick black woman 5 of 6

Funny, you never really realise you have a favourite until someone else steps in. Or in my case you don’t realise you have a favourite healthcare assistant and till the one you’ve always had switches shift. I’m going to call my favourite HCA Marie. Obviously her name isn’t Marie but when I asked her what she wanted her blog alias to be that was what she chose. Now I couldn’t really tell you if she goes the extra mile or whether she’s the only one that does the job properly but she sure makes it harder for anyone else to measure up. Continue reading Diary of a sick black woman 5 of 6

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