With the tremendous amount of accidents happening constantly across the globe, many workers will have to deal with disabilities at some point in life. Unfortunately, many of these disabilities render the victims incapacitated for some time; not able to continue with their normal duties. At times, the victims are forced to abandon their previous responsibilities altogether as they are not in a position to perform as before.
However, when you are done with your sick leave and ready to go back to work, you can do so with your head held high. You cannot let a disability define your career. As they say, 'disability is not inability' and you need to adopt this phrase in your life.
But things are not going to be as easy as you think, and you need to learn how to adjust accordingly before your first day at work. Here are essential tips on how to go back to work after you have suffered an injury causing a disability.
Talk to Your Doctor about Going Back to Work
As you schedule for your office hours, consult with your doctor about the details of your work. Be specific and clear when telling your doctor about the nature of your work. You don't want to encounter unusual circumstances that you may not know how to handle. You need professional help on everything, like mobility issues.
If you are working away from your home, your doctor can recommend a specific clinic where you can go for checkups. They can also advise you on better ways to take care of yourself and how to avoid issues that can lead to a rebound. If your doctor advises you against going to work, they should give you a medical report to present to your employer.
Prepare Your Assistive Devices
Because of your disability, you may not be in a position to perform some simple tasks without assistive devices. Your doctor may recommend some walking aids if you have a leg, foot, or knee injury. You may need to use crutches, canes, or disability scooters. These devices will help keep your weight off the injured area and help you perform certain tasks with ease. Your life may not be normal as it used to be, but the aids can make things a little bearable.
In case you are using disability scooters, check them properly before you report back to work and make sure they are in good condition. You also need to train yourself on how to move around with them comfortably so that they don't get in your way. They should also not interfere with other employees or the work area. When learning to use these aids, you can get a friend or a family member to provide the needed support.
Be Ready Physically and Psychologically
Your doctor may have given you the go-ahead to resume work, but you know your body better and can tell whether you are ready or not. Think about how you feel physically. Are you still feeling any pain? Are your nerves numb? If these questions are negative, then you are physically ready to go back to your office.
What about your emotional wellbeing? You might feel comfortable physically and even feel completely healed, but the mind doesn't heal that quickly. If you are still in a state of denial, then it means you're not emotionally ready to resume your work. Psychological effects mostly happen to those injured at work. You can talk to your doctor to recommend some emotional help from a reliable psychologist to help you resume work fully prepared.
Describe Your Disability in a Clear Manner
It would be best if you informed your employer about your disability in an understandable way. Remember, these are not doctors, and they may not understand your condition. Besides giving them a medical report from your doctor, you should also inform them about what you feel and what you can or cannot do.
Don't leave any stone unturned. Give them every detail regarding your disability so that they know how to handle your situation. Remember, as strict as your boss may be, they are human and will understand your situation if you tell them. They need to know what you can do and what you can't.
Understand all Your Rights
Make sure you are aware of all the rights of a disabled worker. Read books, search online, and check various provisions of people with disabilities at work. You need to know your rights and have them at your fingertips just in case you encounter any problems with your employer. Remember, as long as you are within your legal rights, they won't do anything that can land them in trouble. Also, be careful not to misuse your rights to the extent of putting your employer in a difficult situation.
Check Your Company's Disability Policy
As far as you have your rights backing you up, you must also understand your company's disability policy. It would be best if you went through your company's long term disability policy before you go back to work. This will help you know what they expect of you and how to handle your work. You should also know whether you can return to your position or not. You should also know whether you will have your employee rights after the disability.
Look at the occupational clause regarding your disability. This will tell you whether, how and when you're going to believe your disability. You may also not be able to work as before but still receive your disability benefits.
There are so many details that you need to be conversant with. Different companies have different disability policies that work best for them. But being up to date with different policies will keep you in the right position. Remember your doctor is the best person to guide you through. Always consult him/her in case of anything, just to make sure you recover as fast as possible. Keeping in mind that disability is not inability.