A workplace injury can turn your life upside down. Recovery can take months to years, or never fully happen depending on the injury. During this time, you likely are not able to work. Light duty may be an option if you are lucky.
Once you are ready to go back to work, it usually is not as easy as just picking up right where you left off. Your abilities may never be the same due to long-term damage. You may be behind in training and advancements in your field. Follow these tips to help you have a smooth transition back into employment.
Talk to your doctor
First, have a clear understanding of what you can and cannot do. Knowing this information and abiding by it will help you prevent sustaining another injury.
Find out if you will need any special accommodations in the workplace. You do not need to feel guilty or scared about asking your employer for these accommodations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost is generally low or nonexistent, and whatever expense is necessary is cheaper than having to hire and train your replacement.
Take it easy
You may be tempted to jump right back in feet first to make up for lost time and wages, but you risk harming your health. This is why a workers' compensation claim is so important, so you do not have to worry about finances and can focus on getting better. Take things slowly and make modifications to your schedule or tasks as needed.
Try something new
What if it is not possible for you to return to your previous place of employment? In this case, you may benefit from vocational rehabilitation. This refers to going through job counseling and possibly training for a completely new occupation. You may be able to receive these benefits as part of your workers' comp claim.