Benefits of supporting employees to get to work after an illness

Returning to work after a prolonged illness or time off sick can be a challenging and daunting experience for employees. It’s important for employers to make this transition easy, and stress-free. However, there are numerous benefits to both the employee and the organisation when an employee returns to work.


Benefits for the employee’s mental health


Returning to work can significantly improve an employee’s mental health. Whilst an individual is off sick, they can experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Returning to work can help to reduce these, if not resolve these.

A return to a normal working routine can help to reinstate the feeling of belonging and serving a purpose, which most people lose when they are off sick for a prolonged time. Work can give individuals a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, and fulfillment. It can also help them regain a sense of routine and structure, which can be particularly important for those who have been off work for an extended period.


Shared workload


When an individual is off sick, it can affect every other member of the team. Not only is the workload normally shared out, but team members will also be custom to the way in which a person works. This means an absence from a team can have a knock-on effect on all. The return of an employee can improve productivity and reduce the workload on other employees who may have had to cover the absent employee’s workload during their time off.


Expensive recruitment and training


Returning employees can bring a wealth of experience and knowledge back to the workplace. Many businesses see the benefits of an employee returning to the workplace, rather than hiring a new employee. Not only can the recruitment process be expensive, and prolonged. But then the new employee must be trained, and it may take 2 years for them to reach the same level as the previous employee.

When an employee returns to the workplace after a prolonged amount of time off, they could share insights and experiences gained during their time off. This could potentially lead and contribute to new ideas and innovation within the organisation. Additionally, returning employees can also serve as role models for other employees, demonstrating resilience and determination in the face of adversity.


A seamless transition back to work after illness


It’s important that employers create a welcoming and supportive environment when an employee returns from a long period of absence. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and any stress that an employee could be feeling. They could also be feeling some guilt, as they have been absent from work for such a long time.

A comprehensive return-to-work plan which outlines the role, expectations, and responsibilities straight away set out what is expected of the employee. This could include information on things that they may have forgotten e.g. door codes. Plus any adjustments have been made to make their return easier.

This information can help to reduce any negative feelings and ensure that the return to work process is seamless and positive for all involved.


Management referrals- how can they benefit a business?


An occupational health management referral is a process where an employee is referred to a health professional or specialist for an assessment. This is normally because there are concerns about an employee’s health. To whether they can either remain at work or return to work without affecting their health in a negative way.

A referral is done purely for the benefit of an employee with their best interests at heart. It not only ensures that they are healthy at work, but also that the chance of further absence is reduced, as well as injury or accident.


Contact Us


Acorn Occupational Health is a leading provider of occupational health services across the Northwest of England. We provide a full range of OH services to small, medium, and large businesses in all different industries. Management referrals provide employees with an understanding of an employee’s health, and whether they are healthy enough to be at work. They ensure that businesses are providing a duty of care to their employees.

If you’d like more information on how management referrals work, please get in touch with our team. Visit our FAQs page, call us at 01260 277797, or email us at

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.