Experiencing an injury at your job in California could cause you uncertainty and bring your career to an abrupt halt. You might not know how long your recovery will take or if your injury will impact you long-term.
A return-to-work strategy can help you visualize what goals you need to reach so you can begin working again. In collaboration with your health care team and your employer, you can maintain some control of your career.
Getting back to work will not happen overnight and could require resources such as vocational training to help you prepare for your return. Setting goals for yourself may give you an incentive to move forward. These goals may include milestones in your physical recovery, improvements in a specific skill set and a timeline for your return to the workforce.
A return-to-work program involves your employer in setting these goals. Your employer can provide you with information about their expectations before you return. They may also provide you with a list of things you can do to gradually transition back to your job. This could include modifications to your current job or temporarily switching roles. Your employer might also consider a hybrid schedule to allow time for medical appointments or physical therapy.
Reaching your goals might feel easier and more rewarding when you involve others in the process. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, receiving effective help from your employer could help you maintain your job despite having to take time away to recover from your injury. When you first go back, you may need to take things slower. You might need more breaks, technological assistance or a modified workspace. However, as you continue to heal you can adjust your processes until you reach a point where you can independently perform your job again.
As soon as you have reached a point in your recovery where you feel ready to work again, collaborate with your employer to put together a return-to-work strategy. An injury does not have to prevent you from keeping your career on track.