Returning to Work

Brain injury can leave an individual with a number of persistent impairments that interfere with finding and keeping a job. These problems may be cognitive (difficulties with attention, memory, communication, reasoning, and problem-solving), physical (weakness or lack of coordination in arms or legs, impaired vision, fatigue, sleep problems), emotional (vulnerability to depression, difficulty controlling anger or anxiety), or behavioral (being impulsive).

After sustaining a brain injury, an individual may experience difficulty performing his or her job safely, or in the same manner. Some may find they need to find other employment, while others can request adaptations in their workplace to accommodate their new needs.

Deciding to Return to Work

Having a conversation with your employer, supervisor, or human resources department is a good opportunity to discuss your options and needs once you go back to your job. Below are some suggestions and things to keep in mind for the discussion:

  • Returning to work gradually; for example, starting at three mornings a week or even working from home for a period of time
  • Returning with shorter hours
  • Taking more breaks throughout the day
  • Returning with less workload
  • Taking on a different role

Once you return to work, it is important to communicate with your employer regularly to decide if the adaptations are working to both parties’ benefit, or if further changes are necessary.