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Wellbeing

Wellbeing Wednesday 18 August 2021

 

Jane Fowler

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope that you are all well. This is the time of year that I always love in the garden – seeds that were planted earlier in the year are now maturing and ready for harvest. This year my biggest success story is beetroot – in the past they have been tiny little radish sized beetroot, but this year for some reason the weather (and the birds) have kept the slugs at bay and they have grown fantastically well! Keeps me busy and outdoors, so I’m happy. I hope you are all continuing to take advantage of the still light evenings and mornings and getting out and about.

This week we are focussing on returning to the work after long term absence. It is so important to take the time to settle back into work at a pace and doing tasks that you are able to, gradually getting back up to speed and recognising that this could take more time than you would expect. We have lots of support in place for you, so please take us up on it, whether you are an employee returning or a manager supporting a colleague back to work.

Another important area of focus this week is on pain management. There are many of us who have long term conditions that result in persistent pain and this can be very debilitating. If this affects you or any of your colleagues or loved ones, please have a look at the information below to find out more. I hope that some of you do find this supportive.

Take care as always and see you next week!

Returning from long term sickness absence

 As much as we do our best to keep ourselves healthy, from time to time there are instances where longer periods of sickness absence is unavoidable.

When we are unwell, we need other people to help us recover and return to work. No one should feel like they have to do it on their own and the process of returning to work is most successful when the employee, manager and colleagues are all working together.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • It is important that we prioritise self-care and take appropriate responsibility to manage our condition. This includes developing an understanding of the condition and how best to manage the symptoms.
  • Returning employees may need support to develop their ability to manage their condition effectively, for example in areas of self-management strategies, resilience and confidence in their ability to manage their work and health. Professional advice can be obtained from occupational health and reasonable adjustments or a phased return may also be considered.
  • Friends, family and colleagues play a vital supporting role in supporting absent and unwell employees. They help us to stay connected, retain our identity and feel valued when they offer non-judgemental support and understanding.
  • We are best able to stay in and thrive at work when our colleagues support us through providing feedback on tasks, helping when completing challenging tasks and treating us as the person we were before the absence.
  • Communication is key. It is a good idea to agree what information about our absence and condition we would like to be shared, how any return-to-work plans will be communicated and how the team could provide support. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and uncertainty for the returning employee and colleagues.

If you have recently returned to work it’s important to be realistic and talk to your manager about what you are ready to take on so that adjustments can be made where necessary.  The council offer the following methods of support to help you manage this transition.

Occupational Health referral

A consultation with the council’s occupational health provider will provide you and your line manager with a medical opinion on how you can best be supported to return to work.

Phased Return

You may wish to consider a phased return so that you can build up to returning to your full duties.  You can find more information about this on The Hub or speak to your line manager.

Employee Counselling Service

Health Assured offer a 24 hour service and a range of supportive options including online programmes and telephone counselling sessions.

If you are a line manager and you would like some advice on supporting an employee with sickness absence or a return back to work please contact the wellbeing team wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk and we will be happy to discuss this with you further.

Living with pain?

Scotland Versus Arthritis aims to make sure that people with arthritis have all the support and information they need to live well with their condition.

They are delivering a pain toolkit workshop on 23 August from 11am – 1:30pm. The workshop is for people who live with persistent pain and those who support them.

For more information and to register for a free place call 0141 954 7776 or email livewell@versusarthritis.org

As always, please continue to let us know your thoughts and ideas about the items featured in our Wellbeing Wednesdays each week and send us your suggestions for future topics – we love to hear from you.

The Wellbeing Team:  wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk