Tips on returning to work after an illness

You might have thought it would never happen to you. Developing an illness or injury and needing to go off work. You have navigated your recovery path and are ready to get back. But where do you start?

If your benefits plan includes short- or long-term disability coverage provided by Manulife, you will be assigned a Case Manager. They will assist you in getting the care you need.

They act on your behalf and maintain contact with your employer and doctors during every step of the recovery process. This allows them to have a better understanding of your unique situation.

Preparing to go back

Once you’ve spoken with your doctor about your improvements, let your employer know. They’ll contact your case manager and work together to make your back to work transition as easy as possible. You should review the return to work plan and raise any concerns you might have. This will ensure you and your employer both understand the expectations of your return. Remember you might not be able to go back to the same duties or job you were doing before.

When you return to work, you might need special supports to help you do your job. The case manager will discuss with your employer any possible limitations you might have. However, they won’t discuss your specific diagnosis or condition.

You might need to start on shortened work hours or modified tasks. Your employer is responsible for addressing these needs. Keep in mind there might be limits on what can be provided.

The first day

On your first day, ask about your duties, workload and performance expectations. You should also discuss any training you will need to take. Ensuring you have the skills to succeed will help make your first day back more enjoyable.

Your co-workers might ask you questions about your situation. Just like talking to your manager, use your own judgement about how much detail to provide. You can use general terms instead of your specific diagnosis. Just don’t let the water cooler gossip take away from this big step in your recovery.

Returning to work after an absence can bring feelings of excitement and anxiety. For more information to make a better first day back, check out this returning to work guide.


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