Risks and hazards exist in all work environments, stemming from a wide range of sources. Slips, trips and falls, overexertion, muscle strains, being struck by equipment or falling objects, crashes, collisions, or exposure to harmful substances are just some of the most common types of work-related injuries.
Workers who suffer an injury on the job can experience both short- and long-term consequences, encompassing physical, psychological, and economical effects. This may include physical pain, temporary disability, depression, anxiety, loss of income, strained relationships, etc. Obviously, the recovery time differs from person to person, depending on the severity of the injury and the level of care and support the employee receives.
Worker’s compensation is one of the aspects that can greatly influence the recovery process. As experts at UK experts Accident Claims Advice explain, if you were injured at work, you are entitled to making a personal injury claim and receive compensation for the damages and loss you’ve suffered. The compensation can help cover medical expenses and living costs, so you can stress less about financial matters and focus on getting back on your feet. The sooner you recover, the sooner you can get back to work and resume your normal activity.
However, for a lot of employees deciding when to return to work can be tricky. Since every situation is unique and the recovery journey looks different for everyone, it can be challenging to know when’s the right time to transition back to work. If it’s too early, it may have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing, but if it’s too late, you risk facing other types of problems and challenges, so finding the right moment is as important as it is complicated.
Why returning to work after an injury is important
There are many reasons why people might want to go back to work after suffering an injury. These reasons have to do with financial, social, and health-related aspects equally.
For starters, studies show that taking too long to recover after an injury may lead to a sedentary lifestyle. It’s more likely for you to develop unhealthy eating habits and gain weight if you don’t have something to keep you busy. The more time you spend at home, the more difficult it will be for you to get back into the work saddle and stay active. While physical therapy can help to some extent, resuming your daily work tasks can also encourage movement and help you regain your energy.
Secondly, a long recovery time can also translate into isolation. You’ll have fewer chances of interacting with your family, friends, or colleagues if you spend all day stuck at home. In time, you might start to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Whereas, if you go back to work, you’ll receive moral support from your work friends and that can work wonders for your mental health. It’s not just the activity you perform at work per-se that can help improve your mood, but also the people who surround you.
While many employees hate their jobs and regard work as a necessary evil, this does not apply to everyone. There are a lot of people out there who love what they do and enjoy going to work every day. Their job is what gives them a sense of purpose and makes them feel fulfilled. If you’re one of these lucky fellows, it’s obvious that going back to work will make you a lot happier than staying at home and getting bored.
Last but not least, there are financial implications to take into consideration. While you may receive compensation for your injuries or benefit from support from your family and friends, this financial aid might not be enough to replace a full salary or maintain the lifestyle you’re used to.
Is an early return a good idea?
All of the above reasons might have you believe that returning to work as soon as possible is the best thing that could happen to you. However, things are a bit more complicated than that. While the arguments we’ve mentioned remain valid, it’s important to look at them in the context of your recovery. Health experts advise not to rush the recovery process, and there are good reasons for that as well.
A lot of people think they’re ready to go back to work the very moment they start feeling better, but that’s not a decision you can take on your own. Even if you are feeling capable of performing your work duties as usual, if your doctor hasn’t given you the green light yet it means you’re still not out of the woods.
If you return to work before your injury is fully healed, despite your doctor’s recommendations, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Your health condition can worsen and that can force you to go back home and start the recovery process all over again. Going to work while feeling poorly can also expose you to greater risks and hazards. Your focus and concertation might be impaired, causing you to injure yourself or others while carrying out your daily tasks.
You may also come to realize that the break you’ve taken has taken its toll on your productivity levels. Thus, putting too much pressure on yourself too soon can lead to stress and burnout, which is the last thing you want to experience while trying to recover from an injury.
Tips to make the transition smoother
When you do finally go back to work, you have to be prepared for the challenges you may face. With the right approach, you’ll be able to facilitate this transition and resume work successfully. Here are some of the most important aspects to focus on:
- Listen to your doctor’s orders
- Keep your employer informed about your progress
- Ask your employer for support
- Take advantage of workplace rehabilitation programs
- Try not to overexert yourself