How should I prepare to return to work after medical leave?
May 26, 2014 10:19 AM Subscribe
After being off work for medical reasons for more than a year, I'm tentatively looking to return to work within the next 3 months. If you have been in a similar situation, what worked well for you, and what would you do differently?
posted by spiraldown to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My medical leave was because of severe depression and anxiety, the results of a combination of several very intensely stressful circumstances. Most of those circumstances are now resolved or at least under control. My depression and anxiety are considerably improved, through medication and therapy. And while I wouldn't call myself recovered, I appear to be as close as my various doctors think I'm going to get, meaning that low-level symptoms will be ongoing.
Work was a stressor, although the specific project that caused the most stress has been taken over by somebody else in my absence. So I'm not sure at this point what work I would be going back to. I and others felt that it was a toxic workplace, though I'm not clear how much of my perception of that was reality and how much of it was a result of my illness. I'm prepared to give it a try for a period of time before considering whether to look for another job if it proves to be unworkable.
I'm well supported by my doctors and insurance company, with the latter paying for various programs to improve mental and physical fitness. There is money there to support me with additional therapy around the time I return to work, and over the remaining 2-3 months of my leave I'll continue with therapy and other programs. Return would be gradual, starting with part-time a couple of days a week, building up over several weeks to full-time. The insurance company will help me negotiate the schedule, the type of job I'll be returning to, and any other factors, such as maybe working at home part of the week.
Specific things I'm wondering about...
In addition to the programs I'm already doing, what else can I do in my remaining time off to best prepare myself for returning to work?
What mistakes should I look to avoid?
If you've been in this position, how much information did you give about your past and ongoing health issues? I know I don't have to tell them anything but giving some detail might help with accommodation of things like working at home. (The CEO in particular has made negative comments about people with mental illnesses in the past, so I'm not sure what kind of reception I will get, no matter what level of information I share. I'm sure people at the office have figured out why I had to take time off.)
If you're an employer who has had an employee in this situation, what would your expectations be to try to make this process easier for everyone?