Regular contact from her Fit for Work case manager helped Jane* make a successful return to work after taking time off due to stress.
Jane*, aged 61, works as an Office Administrator for a property company in Cheshire. Suffering from stress, she took an initial three weeks off work, but this turned into a lengthier sickness absence. “I was feeling extremely stressed, fatigued and emotional. I’d been off work for three weeks and was still really struggling.”
Once she reached the four week absence point, her company’s HR department asked if they could refer her to Fit for Work, to see if the service could help find a way to relieve her stress and help her back to work. “My company let me know that I was going to be called by a Fit for Work case manager – I was initially nervous about speaking to the case manager, as I was worried it might be an impersonal type of approach. But actually my case manager, Emma, was lovely and made me feel very comfortable.”
Emma explained to Jane how the referral to Fit for Work would work and addressed any worries she had. “She explained that the service is totally voluntary and impartial, which really helped as it meant she could listen to my problems and offer neutral, unbiased advice. We discussed my stress at length, but we also discussed other things like how my job was affecting my stress levels and any other obstacles which were preventing me going back to work.”
Working together, Jane and Emma drew up a Return to Work Plan to help Jane find a suitable route back to work. “I shared my Return to Work Plan with my HR department. It helped them understand the stress I was struggling with and made it much easier for me to return to work, knowing that there was clear guidance about my return. Even after I returned to work Emma was still there for me when I needed her. She provided me with lots of useful information and websites to visit which has given me an added sense of support – I don’t feel as though I’m doing this alone.”
“I found being referred to Fit for Work a really empowering experience – it enabled me to express how I was feeling properly. I was finding it hard to even think about going back to work, but having Emma’s guidance meant that I felt empowered to discuss the issues I was facing with my employer. Having Emma’s support made all the difference in the world.”
* name has been changed