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Returned to work

Community Member

I’ve been on work cover for around 10/11 months due to work place injury, bullying, assault and numerous other things happend I’ve been sent to a new location ( temporarily) while I adjust to returning to work , today was first day back It was hard I was lumped in a role I’ve never done ( receptionist) Recived no training just answer phones take notes which is way stressing when I don’t know clients procedures or  even the telephone systems or who to ask for help no one was available despite me asking numerous times for help . I can’t say how I felt after leaving work all of 3 hours work left me sweating profusely and literally panicked state of mind then to top it off I got a snarky email from my nasty return to work co ordinator due to apparently me missing something in a timesheet I submitted and that was my fault given I’ve never had to do timesheets and again no one was around to assist me to complete these tasks . My dad says I should quit and after today I feel I should I I’mvery overwhelmed by today’s awful work day and told my new boss that too . I dread going into work tomorrow , how do others deal with returning to work after long absence and mental health problems I have anxiety and depression Re what happened at my original work site yes I am requesting a new return to work co ordinator 

50 Replies 50

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Blue23,


Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a challenging time, returning to work after a long-term absence can be quite difficult.


Based on your description, it seems that your company's management could be more supportive. While they have taken steps to accommodate you, such as relocating you to another site and assigning non-physical work to prevent further injury and aid in recovery, it's crucial that they also help you adapt to your current temporary work arrangement.


Since you have already requested assistance multiple times, I recommend escalating the matter to your Human Resources department. They understand the importance of providing genuine support for employees returning to work, as failure to do so may put the company at legal risk.


Additionally, you may want to consider your father's suggestion of seeking a job that better suits your needs. It's unlikely that your current employer will be able to make significant improvements in management quality within a short time frame, even if some team members are willing to do so. If you decide to pursue a new job, now would be an ideal time to start planning for your future and preparing for interviews. Be patient, be sure to look for roles that are less demanding in order to minimize stress.


Wish you the best in your endeavors. Remember, things can and will get better.

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi blues23

So sorry to hear about your workplace injuries. I want to congratulate you on your attempt to return to work. I know it’s a challenge, particularly as you received a shocking lack of support.

I’m glad that you’ve communicated your concerns in the workplace, but please also ensure that your company’s insurer knows what happened. The insurer wants you back to work (to reduce its costs) safely (to avoid additional claim costs) and will remind your employer of its obligations.

I wouldn’t quit without knowing what will happen to your claim, as you are not yet ready for full time work and you may struggle to find suitable employment and your medical expenses could continue into the future.

See if you can give it a week. Fill the timesheet out carefully and make sure there is a paper trail of any concerns you have. (I would be asking for training as a minimum.) I say this from my experience as an employer because you also have an obligation to return to work in good faith and if you don’t do this your employer can take action against you. I realise this isn’t what’s happening here but you don’t want to give your employer any ammunition to use against you.

If the situation has not improved in a week reach out the insurance case manager and ask them to facilitate a meeting with your employer.

Good luck.

Kind thoughts to you


Community Member

It’s my 2nd week back so many people are asking me questions why am I at this work place and not the previous work site ( I was bullied injured ect ect ) been on work cover for 11 months and was at the original site for 11 months . I’m getting questions of how & why and was it this and that it’s frankly becoming quite annoying I can’t discuss what happened to me as it’s confidential and if I discuss it it will spread like wildfire and I’m in no way wanting more drama than I already have returning to work it’s quite hard these employees know nothing of what I feel having to be questioned like I have and stuff it’s like I can’t tell u so why ask it may be curious or gossip festing on the staff’s behalf but I still can’t say anything no matter how much they badger me . How do I handle this as it’s becoming a thing this questions and I’m like I can’t even discuss it so not sure how to go about it really.

Hello blues23


Your post caught my attention by surprise.

Possibly I was drawn to your words as I have also been subjected to workplace bullying and more.

It is an horrendous journey where the so called areas of support can only serve to add to the trauma in my case.

I hope that you have some ongoing support outside of workcover for the trauma incurred from your experiences. Request a referral from your personal gp not workcover.

You are extremely brave and courageous returning to work whether by choice or not.


I have read that this treatment is rampant across most workforces in areas you and I would not believe.


Is your manager aware of your confidential situation and  circumstances? Have they communicated to all staff that you are returning to work after recovering and rehabilitating from a medical condition?

That is all that needs to and should be disclosed. Nothing more? The subject is not to be brought up.

Do not discuss the reasons why with anyone. Not even your manager.

If someone befriends you and tries to find out. Reply with thank you for asking but I am focussing on my continuing to feel better and moving forward. I choose not to think about the past.


A medical letter should be sent to your manager or management higher stating only that you are now deemed fit to return to work after recovering and rehabilitating from a medical condition.

Make an appointment with your personal gp and explain what is now happening and that you need a letter addressed to the management of your company saying exactly the above and that all staff are to be informed.

In order for you to be able to perform your duties to the best of your ability and in the interests of all  other staff members and management your medical condition is not to be questioned. Thank you for respecting these requirements.

They would be familiar with this scenario and may have better suggestions.

Management do have to be accountable and the behaviour of staff as a whole is unacceptable.

Everything that you feel is valid and do not allow yourself to go down the path of questioning you.

You are showing up. You have rights as a human being apart from an employee.

There should also be human resources or a person who handles this kind of treatment.


This is a start.

Then try to sort out the sincere people from the troublemakers without being noticed.

They are there. Probably hiding.

I will follow your post should you


Lastly well done in landing here and writing about this.

Many cannot face this.

You have great strength and you will find a way to get through this.


Hi Emotions 


thank you for your reply and advise I will definitely discuss it with my GP I did discuss it today with my new manager but she just shrugged her shoulders I don’t entirely know what has been disclosed by my RTWC no idea what has been said of my recovery I only have partial  capacity I assumed all staff knew I was returning to work but I face this sort of questioning every time I go into work and I’m like constantly saying I can’t discuss it I can’t discuss it and it’s quite irritating for me as it triggers memories of my time in my old workplace and then I feel guilt / sick anxious the rest of the day all I’m trying to do is get on with my day and not fester on all this hate mongers from this new work they are literally in shock that im there at all and it’s like the look on their faces is like why is she here what happened I get it but I can’t discuss it and I won’t discuss it 

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

If many people are asking you the same questions, then it is likely the rumours have already been circulating (and possibly someone clumsily or vindictively leaked sensitive information). Unfortunately, your silence only fuels the curiosity and perpetuates gossip - such is the nature of human behaviour and it sounds like you're feeling goaded as one who prods a caged animal.

My suggestion is to dismiss such questions with a humorous quip about wanting to be closer to the beach or some other nonsense to put them off guard and deflect the attention. Alternatively, respond with a question asking why this is so important or relevant to them - perhaps ask why they think you are here. This may provide some useful insight into the background chatter.

As with all newcomers, there is a natural interest to establish a pecking order (with many vying for supremacy or simply out to score points) so it may be fairly innocuous behaviour exacerbated only by your secrecy. On some occasions it can be the need to sus out if you are 'genuine' and not someone planted to report on work practices.

However, you may be overlaying your past experience onto this similar environment which has understandably heightened your senses to intimidation - remember you are still recovering and this will take some time to adjust and build confidence again.

Thank you for your reply all good points I know there is some toxic stuff between the two sites which I have no interest in participating in as toxic leads to toxic and once I participate  in it I can become toxic myself which is something that just doesn’t sit right with me to chat about what happened to me at work in a different work site like it’s not relevant to why I’m at work I’m at work to support myself & my daughter that is all I understand the curiosity but honestly it annoys me a lot as it’s like why is it their  business it not happening to them so move on , I will try these attempts at deflecting and redirecting the questions if it continues to be too much I’ll complain about it again to a more senior person and make it clear it’s not a point of discussion and I don’t want to discuss it or add to the already fractured relationships between the two work sites like honestly these people behave in ways I’m not accustomed to and it’s like weird and unsettling and quite childish it’s like if u hate each other go about it but at least just let it be like what’s the point of poking at it it change’s nothing 

Sorry to hear that nothing formal in place

There are policies in place around people returning to work after work cover.

Work cover are accountable and so are your management in theory.

It sounds as though your manager does not have the power from above management to do her job (did you say she?) as in "manage". A middle management issue that is rife these days.

Nevertheless you still have rights and it really is up to you how you feel.

How do you want to be treated?

Do you want it to just all go away, fade so that you can just get on with your job?

Or do you want to be treated with respect as a human being that every single person deserves?

How are you coping with your feelings and thoughts and are these impacting your personal life or all areas of your life as well as work?

There are advocates and resources but sometimes it takes a while to find ones that are helpful.

Some people believe ignore it or speak about it.

Ask yourself what you believe before you make any decisions as your choice can impact you further down the track and you must put you first.

I really hope that you have some help here.

Fairwork ombudsman covers this stuff. They have a huge workload yes. You still are entitled to their help and can make the call if you have not already. They might give you further directions.

There are other avenues.

Have you telephoned the Beyond Blue helpline? They have a list of resources and might be able to redirect you also.



Hi emotions 


things well are not so good was progressing along last weeks prior my boss told me a different roster than what my return to work plan is ( I of course confused and followed my bosses directions only to find out on finishing shift she was wrong to make me work longer than expected and on my day off she contacted me basically accusing me of not being at work on my day off which is listed as not working on my return to work plan.  It very much got to me that phone call had an anxiety attack for hours hardly slept for worrying over it it’s been challenging to say the least and because there’s not much support in place I feel very bad almost  TV back to square 1 just because of this phone call on my day off I’m speaking to my GP tomorrow maybe to reduce my work hours drop a day due to the stress I’ve had these past few weeks I’m still pretty wired and worried if I change my hours gives my work more reason to be more difficult than already is . I don’t mind the place I’m working at but I really prefer people leave me alone most of the time I have put a face on and don’t even be myself it’s like my coverage