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Returning to work after a period of absence

by Natalie Atherall | 18 September 2018

I have recently returned to work following an accident which meant that I was unable to work in the office for a period of three months. It can be extremely challenging being out of the office for such a long period of time, having limited access to your work/life and generally being ‘out of the loop’ which can be quite demotivating. However, there are lots of ways to stay positive and focused while you are working from home, and I thought I would share my top tips from my experience below:

  1. Keep in touch with your manager and colleagues – I had several visits from both my manager and colleagues during my recovery period which really made such a difference. This meant that I was kept up-to-date with all aspects of what was going on within our team, and the wider business as a whole such as:

  • Staffing changes and information around new people that had joined the business.
  • Business updates including information on our new dress code policy.
  • Recruitment updates – what roles the team were getting through and how those were progressing.

  1. Try to be as involved in your role as possible whilst not being in the office – once my initial recovery period was over and I was given the green light to start working again (albeit remotely), I knew I wanted to do as much as possible. I worked closely with manager and team members to ensure I offered as much help as possible whilst working remotely. I was given a laptop and mobile phone which enabled me to be fully connected to Sellick Partnership. It allowed me to act as if I were in the office which helped me a lot. I was able to log in to the system each morning, access my emails and take calls from clients, candidates and colleagues. This was a really key moment for me as I started to reintegrate myself into the working day. I also had a conversation with my manager twice a day to ensure that both the team and I were updated on our work and vice versa.

  1. Use the technology at your disposal – at Sellick Partnership we are passionate about technology and we are lucky enough to have all the software in place which made it possible for me to video call into training sessions. This was a brilliant way to ensure I didn’t miss scheduled training, and it helped to keep me on track with my training plan.

  1. Consider a phased return – as tempting as it is to jump straight back into full time work you should really support the idea of a phased return. It doesn’t have to be drawn out over a number of weeks, but easing yourself in gently is a must – you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this makes. Having broken my foot, a phased return allowed me to physically reintroduce my commute to work (challenging when you haven’t been able to walk for months!) as well as getting used to the normal working hours.

  1. Don’t be scared – it is unnerving to have been out of the office for a long period of time but if I could offer one piece of advice it would be to embrace your transition back to the office and enjoy being part of the office ‘buzz’ again. Returning to work is undoubtedly daunting after any period of absence, but I really couldn’t wait to get back to work and am pleased to now be back in the office full time.

Overall, having three months out of the office was a really challenging experience. My main piece of advice would be ultimately to use the tools at your disposal so you can stay involved in your role and the team, and keep in touch with your manager and colleagues. The combination of all of the above meant that something such as returning to work could have been extremely overwhelming, but by the time I was back in the office full time I was really ready, and two weeks later it feels as though it never happened!

If you have any questions about your return to work please feel free to contact me on natalie.atherall@sellickpartnership.co.uk. Alternatively you can read blogs from my colleagues here.