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Tell me about your phased return to work, please

(17 Posts)
BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 07:07:55

So I feel obliged to return to work, occupational health have said very bluntly that I can't go back to the same working conditions. It's a temporary loan to work on a very high profile issue, ridiculously high pressure.
what should I be asking about for a phased return? How do I overcome the emotional impact of making a huge mistake, having a very public breakdown which included being open about how suicidal I was. I might drip feed this one because I can't out the organisation.

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BillStickersIsInnocent Fri 23-Oct-20 07:39:04

Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time.

Can I ask - why do you feel obliged to return to work?
Do you feel well enough even on the bad days to cope with the demands of the job?

Oxyiz Fri 23-Oct-20 07:45:26

Don't go back if you're not ready.

It can be tempting to want to rush and make everything feel better again, but it won't help or make you look any better at work if you go back and effectively collapse again.

Your team will expect you be 100% ready again, rightly or wrongly, by the time you come back.

BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 07:47:19

I feel like I can now cope with everyday life and I feel like I am not ill enough to still be off. I was brought up with a very strong work ethic and everyone around me worked long hours in manual work. I messed up badly (sorry drip feeding) and feel guilty. I suppose I also want to get it over and done with!

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BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 07:53:17

I am also not sure how long I can be off, my boss was 'too busy now' to find out and I don't have any KITs.

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beansonbread Fri 23-Oct-20 08:03:33

I echo what has been said already, only go back when you're definitely ready.

As for phased returns, my first one after 4 months of illness was great. I built up from an hour the first couple of days, to two, then half a day, then three full days with a day of rest in between each one, then up to full time. Even during the return I had to take random days off when things got too tough. The return took about 6 weeks in total but it was totally needed and was really successful.
The second time I needed a phased return after 5 months off (about 2.5 years after the first) was less successful. My employer was much less sympathetic this time round and jumped straight to half days 5 days a week. It was way too much pressure and I cracked on the first day back. She took this as a sign I would never be ready to return to work and made moves to get rid of me. I ended up leaving on my own terms but I do think if she'd had the same approach as the first time round, things would have been much different!

Make sure you have open discussions about what will help you return - reduced hours, specific working spaces, working with specific colleagues, what ever you need for your role and individual situation. Good luck!

BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 08:12:59

Thank you, the first return sounds manageable. I also have the joy of a disciplinary hearing!
I suspect they will be very careful in how they mange my return.

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gretagreengrapes Fri 23-Oct-20 08:17:03

Also want to say don't go back if you're not ready. I felt able to live normal life outside of work so returned but it was too overwhelming so went off again. It would have been better to take another 4 weeks off!

My phased return was laid out by my GP on my fit note which was really helpful and work didn't challenge it.

HR should definitely be able to send you a copy of the sickness policy, you're entitled to see it!

Mo81 Fri 23-Oct-20 08:26:06

Your health is more important than any job. Take care and only returnwhrn you are strong enough.

Foreverlexicon Fri 23-Oct-20 08:31:42

I did 3 weeks of 4 hour days and 3 weeks of 6 hour days. (Usually do 9-10 hour shifts).

It was very helpful. In the early days I had the odd day of feeling ‘unable’ to come in but knowing I only had a few hours helped. By the time I was full time again, I had adapted.

Oxyiz Fri 23-Oct-20 09:36:52

Yes I rushed back too - I also have an absurd work ethic, and its only years down the line seeing it from the other side that I understand how rushing back was a mistake.

Try to think of it from their point of view: you coming back signals that you're ready to work, with 100% mental effort and ability. If you come back and then mess up, then that's more hassle for them then you staying away.

I've no idea if you really did mess up before or if actually you were put under a ridiculous amount of pressure that no human could cope with - from what you've said I'm guessing the latter

But the fact that you're already thinking you can't do the job tells you that you might know you're not ready.

Are you looking for a new role yet?

BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 10:33:45

I will out myself if I explain the pressure in the rest of my life! Thanks for the support, it's really helps x

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BGDino Fri 23-Oct-20 12:25:28

I needed 3 attempts to return to work - the first two I tried to go back without any altered duties or hours, and failed abysmally. First time I lasted 2 weeks and the second time 2 days. Third time HR became involved and I had a formal return to work plan where I did reduced duties half hours for two weeks, then I think I did mornings only for two to four weeks before going back to full time.

BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 15:42:35

So the doctor has said I will be fit enough to return on 1 November- wish me luck!

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BabyMoonPie Fri 23-Oct-20 15:53:02

Have occupational health made any suggestions? I had a period off work last year due to stress and the occupational health report set out what my phased return should be. It was something like 50% of my hours for the first week, 65% for the next 2 weeks then 85% for the last week before resuming my usual hours. Good luck

BPSCSS Fri 23-Oct-20 16:29:45

They made a suggestion that I could not go back to the same work situation! I expect they will be involved in my return.

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BPSCSS Tue 27-Oct-20 09:34:44

So I emailed my LM on Friday that I was coming back, explained my concerns, asked for a chat before returning as yet no reply. Hummmm

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