Recovery at work resource kit

Last updated: 19 August 2021


Recovery at work is about making small workplace adjustments to support your employees to perform their job effectively, as they recover from an injury or illness.  

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Key information

  • Small changes at work can make a big difference.  
  • Having the support of a workplace leader is crucial to successful recovery at work.
  • Recovery at work benefits both employees and the business, and it’s also a legal obligation.

Tips to support recovery at work 


Talk 

An employee might tell you that they are finding it hard to cope, or you may have picked up on signs that something is not quite right.  

It’s important to start by having a confidential conversation with your employee to see what support they need. This might include some small changes to the way they work, checking in with their GP, or connecting them with support services like Beyond Blue or Lifeline.  

Having the support of a workplace leader is crucial to successful recovery at work for the individual and their team.  

Some tools to get you talking are available from Beyond Blue and R U OK?

Plan

The next step is to develop a plan with your employee, to support them to keep working during their recovery. The plan should address:

  • roles and responsibilities
  • strategies to support their recovery (e.g., changes to work hours or duties)
  • type of support (e.g. extra check-ins)
  • milestones (e.g. fortnightly meetings) to check-in and make sure the plan is working well.

Make changes 

Changes to the type of work or the shifts the employee works can have a positive impact on their recovery. These changes can be temporary and should be accommodated to a reasonable level.

Changes might include:

  • adjusting workload or daily duties
  • more flexible work schedules
  • moving to a different workspace (e.g. in a quieter area)
  • extra support via more regular check-ins
  • structured support from a colleague
  • access to leave (e.g. taking a day of leave a week)
  • work from home (if available).

Once these changes are made, make sure to check in regularly. You may find that you work together to improve the plan as you go.

See some examples of workplace adjustments.

Stay connected 

Your employee may need to take some leave or time away from work. It is important to ensure they feel valued and part of the team during this period.  
 
Regularly connect with your employee and ask if they would be comfortable for other team members to check in too. Maintaining social connections is vital for good mental health and recovery.  

Language is important. By using respectful and inclusive language you can promote recovery.

There are resources you can use:

 


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