From physical restrictions to mental health problems, disabilities come in many forms. If you have been unable to work recently due to a disability but intend to return soon, you may feel a little apprehensive or concerned about it.
The good news is that you have many rights, and your employer needs to accommodate those rights, which should make things less daunting for you. It is important to remember that the thought can be worse than the reality and, if all goes to plan, you should, very quickly, feel more confident and may even start to wonder why you were apprehensive.
Here are 4 helpful tips on returning to work after a disability.
Are you ready?
One of the first things you should ask yourself is whether you are ready to venture back into the world of work. Leave it too long, and it can become an even bigger issue, but if you go back too soon, it comes with its own problems.
Spend some time considering whether you feel physically and mentally ready before taking the plunge. The wrong timings could impact your frame of mind and set you back in your journey.
Know your rights
Before returning to an existing role, you need to know your rights and ensure that no discrimination takes place because of your disability. Do as much research as possible, and it will give you peace of mind that you are well equipped to deal with any tricky situations that may arise. If for any reason, you believe that discrimination is taking place or your employer is not doing as they should, you may be able to file against disability discrimination.
Your employer should have done the same research as you, but it may be a good idea to meet with them before your return to discuss everything.
If your disability is more physical than psychological, your employer may need to take steps to modify your workplace conditions. It will ensure that you can come to work and perform your role to the best of your ability and without any hindrances.
Modifications may include an allocated parking space close to the workplace entrance, wheelchair ramps, a larger restroom, or adapted software and IT systems. Before returning to work, it’s worth making a list of things you feel need to be accommodated and discussing with your employer.
A phased return
If you have been off work for some time and feel a little apprehensive, it may be worth discussing a phased return with your employer. This way, you can ease yourself into the role with less pressure. For example, you may consider it best to work two days instead of four or work the same number of days but with reduced hours.
Any temporary alteration to your working hours needs to be addressed and agreed upon with your employer, but if they see that it’s advantageous from both sides, it shouldn’t cause too much of an issue.