Returning To Work

Returning to work following a long-term sickness can feel very daunting. Individuals can often experience feelings of discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability when returning to work. Our Occupational Therapists work with individuals who are planning to return to work and provide appropriate supportive interventionsto make this transition a successful one.

Our Occupational Therapists aim to help individuals identifyand reach their work targets and goals.This is done through providing effective strategies to help them cope with the social, organisational and personal barriers that can complicate their return to work.

Associated difficulties with returning to work

Social barriers include:

  • Prejudice
  • Stigma
  • Expectations of colleagues
  • Peer pressure
  • Assumptions
  • Loss of existing networks

Organisational barriers include:

  • Demands of the job
  • Money Management- cost of getting to and from work
  • Lack of support in the work place
  • Inflexible working practice
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Managing time

Personal barriers include:

  • Loss of skills
  • Loss of confidence
  • Lack of support
  • Fatigue
  • Fear of failure
  • Becoming ill again
  • Effects of medication

Social barriers

Returning to work following a period of sickness can be a daunting task for anyone. However for individuals who have returned to a new job or for those who have been moved to a different department, have the loss of existing networks to also deal with. This not only makes the transition a lot more challenging but can result in individual's anxiety levels increasing. Our Occupational Therapists are highly skilled in improving an individual's anxiety levels and can provide effective treatments to reduce the social barriers relating to this transition.

Organisational barriers
Demands of the workplace can be a challenge many want to avoid. Often workplace managers refuse to reduce the roles and responsibilities of the individual returning to work. This can cause individuals to become extremely anxious and lose confidence in their abilities. Our Occupational Therapists can carry out effective workplace assessment and advice on workplace adaptations, allowing individuals to complete their day to day workplace responsibilities at a level that is suited to their abilities.

Personal barriers

Often the stress of returning back to work can make individuals become ill again. This is often down to individuals feelings of diminished self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. Our Occupational Therapists have the skills and expert knowledge to increase an individual's overall self- confidence. This may be accomplished through identify the individuals abilities enhancing their own beliefs or through talk therapies. All however aim to make the transition back to work a healthy and successful one.

Occupational Therapy Assessment for returning to work

The gathering of vital information regarding an individual and their environment is a key component in the Occupational Therapy process. Providing our Occupational Therapists with this important information helps them to inform their decision making with regards to appropriate treatment methods. Assessments also allows for individuals to express their concerns in greater depth, ensuring the extent of the disability is obtained.

Assessments for returning to work have many beneficial aspects and allow for our Occupational Therapists to not only identify the problematic areas, but ensure treatments are tailored appropriately. Our assessment also provides a baseline for improvement, as assessments are completed both at the beginning and at the end of treatments, any improvements made over this time are clearly measured. Assessment arealso an effective way to instil confidence in individuals as they are able to see the improvements first hand.

Suitable assessments for individuals returning to work include:

Our Occupational Therapistshave the skills needed to complete comprehensive assessment for those returning to work. Assessments have the flexibility to be carried out here in one of own clinics or in the individuals own home. Our therapists will however offer suggestions on where best to complete assessment in order ascertain maximum results.

Occupational Therapy treatment for those returning to work

Supporting individuals return to work following a period of sickness can help reduce both the financial and emotional pressures.One of the most common complaints expressed by those returning to work, is the companiesrefusal to reduce an individual's duties at work in order to aid in their recovery and success in the workplace. Our Occupational Therapists have a variety of treatment which can aid an individual's transition back to work.

Treatments include:

Advice and Education
Our Occupational Therapists can offer individuals who are returning to work advice and education on grading their workplace activities. Activity grading it a method used by all our Occupational Therapists and simply involves dissecting activities down into smaller more adaptable components. Through applying this method, progress in individual's performance can be made at a much more satisfying rate. Activity grading for those returning to work, aids a more successful transition and increase their overall independence.

Aids and Adaptations
Aids and adaptations are extremely useful to those returning to work following a long period of sickness. Our Occupational Therapists can offer individuals either small or large adaptations to the workplace environment and aids to assist with workplace activities. Aids and adaptations aim to improve an individual's overall functional abilities and increase their independence. It is highly important to seek professional advice before purchasing any aids or adaptations, as the use of incorrect aids can impair an individual's abilities even more.

Fatigue management
Our Occupational Therapists are highly knowledgeable in fatigue management and can offer individuals returning to work effective strategies to cope with their extreme fatigue. One method adopted by our Occupational Therapists is fatigue diaries. Making a log of when you experience tiredness in relation to times of the day and what activities you have completed, often highlights a pattern, which then enables individuals to manage their fatigue more effectively. Other methods include energy conserving techniques.

Pain management
Pain can be extremely disabling and the management of which very challenging. Our Occupational Therapists can offer individuals new effective strategies, enabling them to become more comfortable whilst in the workplace environment. Breathing techniques, counting techniques and altered focus are among many of the therapies our Occupational Therapists can offer to improve an individual's function in work.

Memory improvements strategies
Memory is critical to our daily lives. The capacity to retain information about past events enables individuals to plan for future ones. Our Occupational Therapistsassistindividuals with memory impairmentin managing their day to day duties much more effectively. This may be done through the use of dairies or list making, as this provides the individuals with visual prompts.

One to one treatments
Having a one to one treatment session with one of our Occupational Therapists allows individuals to communicate openly about their concerns and fears regarding returning to work. In addition to this one to one therapy sessions allow therapy to be more personalised and tailored to the needs of each and every individual.

Conditions that occupational therapists work with

Our Occupational therapists can actively assess and treat a range of conditions, some of which are listed below:

Enabling individuals to live a fulfilling and meaningful life is priority with all our Occupational Therapists. The above list is not an inclusive list, but is that of just a small sample of the conditions our Occupational Therapists can treat. Returning to work after a lengthy period of time off sick is challenging for anyone, however those challenges are enhance in those who require additional support. Our Occupational Therapists have the strategies and skills to assist individuals in returning to work and make the transition a successful one.


A well-managed return to work following an illness reduces the likelihood of work related stresses from occurring. Our Occupational Therapists have the skills and knowledge needed to assist individuals in returning to work. Necessary adjustments can be made to both the individual's role and / or workplace environment. This will not only help reduce the pressure of work, but provide that valuable breathing space needed when settling back in.

What to do next:

If you are planning to return back to work following a period of sickness and feel you would benefit from one of our Occupational Therapy assessments then please do not hesitate to contact you with any enquiries at or call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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