Returning to work after illness

Everyone takes the odd sick day every now and again.

But sometimes sick days can become sick weeks, sick months, and even sick years. So when you are ready to go back to work, we understand it can be a daunting prospect. We show you how to get back into work mode.




Before you start…

Before you get back on the job hunt or consider calling your old boss to enquire about your old job, take a trip to your local GP to make sure you’re well enough to go back.

If you are well enough, get the GP to write you a ‘fit note’. This will explain to employers about your illness and will recommend things the company can do to help you at work.

We know you want to get back into work, but don’t feel pressured to go back to your old routine straight away. If you can, ease yourself back into work, you don’t want to put pressure on yourself if you’re still under the weather.
Start by getting a temp or part-time job, or even something as simple as working less hours for the first few weeks, do whatever you need to relax back into work.


Applying for work

If you’ve been off work for awhile, there might be the odd gap here and there in the CV, but don’t worry, this is something every employer has come across. As long as you deal with it in the right way, you won’t be dismissed or branded as lazy.

Honesty is always the best policy, so explain from the start why you’ve got CV gaps. We’re not suggesting you go into uncomfortable details, but explaining your circumstances a bit will help employers understand things better, and they may even make some reasonable adjustments to accommodate you for the interview day.

Choose to ignore the gap on your CV and your application could get put on the “no” pile by employers. Sounds harsh, but they won’t call you to find out why you haven’t worked, they’ll just dismiss you. Give your perfectly valid reason, and they’re more likely to over-look the gaps.

Remember, just because you’ve been ill, doesn’t mean you haven’t learnt anything in your spare time. From hobbies and voluntary work, to what you’ve been doing round the house, it all counts.

Plus, your existing skills, qualifications and previous work experience won’t suddenly have to disappear from your CV either, so there’s plenty to show off to employers.


Returning to work

Congratulations you’re going back to work! Whether it’s a brand new job or your past employer has asked you back, it’s great news. But going back to work doesn’t need to be a nerve-wracking or stressful experience like you may think.


Talk to the boss

First things first, you need an informal chat with the boss. Whether it’s a brand new boss that knows nothing about you, or an old boss that’s known you for years, sitting down and discussing your time off will set the nerves at ease and get you back into the work mindset.

From first-day nerves and general apprehensions about returning, to asking the boss for the odd day off and needing adjustments to your contract, don’t be afraid to speak up. The more your employer understands about your illness and how it affects you, the more they can help in the long-term should you need more time off in the future.


Don’t panic

Remember this is ultimately your first day at work, especially if you’ve been away from work for a few months, so don’t worry if you feels like your first day in a new job, because it technically is.

Ask questions if you don’t understand, get networking by talking and being uber-polite to your work colleagues, arrive on time, and finally (and probably most importantly), smile.


Get a hobby

Sounds completely off the subject right? But getting involved in a new activity will not only do wonders for your confidence, but also can be great for your health. By having a work/life balance you won’t feel so stressed, and you’ll always have something to look forward if you’ve had a hard day.

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