Getting back to work

Working after your injury can help you get better quicker. It helps you get back to your usual activities and routines while you’re recovering.

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See your doctor

The health information below is for general educational purposes only. Always consult your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you.

Work can help you

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People who keep working, even if they can’t do everything at first, get better quicker than people who take a long time off work.

It’s never too early to start thinking about work.  You don’t have to wait until you’ve completely recovered.

It's good for your recovery to stay active. You can improve your general fitness by getting up and going to work, and building on how much you do at work.

We know that:

  • the longer you’re away from work, the harder it can be to get back to work
  • taking a long time off work is bad for you socially, emotionally and physically
  • work helps you stay active and is an important part of your recovery
  • staying active helps to reduce pain
  • being at work is an opportunity to connect with people and be part of a community
  • working provides financial security

Supported recovery at work is achievable

Watch these videos for award-winning examples of how people returned to work and recovered at work.

  • David was determined to return to work on the family farm after his work injury. In this video, David explains how he was supported in his recovery, the changes that enabled him to keep working on the farm, and his advice to others who are injured at work. View video
  • Skye explains how work played an important role in her recovery after being injured in a car crash, and how her employer supported her return to work and wellbeing. View video

How to recover at work

Recover at work

Here are some strategies to help you recover at work:

  • focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t
  • talk to your doctor and your employer about what you can do safely
  • make a plan to get back to work if you are not working and get support from professionals if you need it
  • stay in touch with your employer and the people you work with – there may be newsletters or updates they can send you, or meetings and training that you can go to while you recover
  • ask questions if you are unsure or have concerns. Talk to someone who can support you, for example your doctor or your supervisor at work
  • monitor your pain levels. Remember some increase in pain during activity does not mean that you are making things worse

Support and assistance

Support and assistance

Support is available to help you at work. Here are some people who can help:

  • your doctor
  • other health professionals involved in your rehabilitation, such as a physiotherapist, rehabilitation counsellor or occupational therapist
  • your supervisor or manager, or the return to work coordinator at your workplace

Further information

Health Benefits of Good Work

The Australasian Faculty of Occupational & Environmental Medicine created an Australian and New Zealand consensus statement on the health benefits of good work.