Jeff Dray addresses the challenges of returning to work after a long absence. How do you get back in the swing of things?
Back at work after a long period of illness, I have been appreciating the routine jobs that mean that I can get through the list without too much effort. I worry that each easy job I do means that I am one closer to the stinker. There’s so much to keep track of in today’s workplace that an absence can take a lot of time to recover from.
I spent most of this summer either in the hospital or at home recovering from surgery.
A summer of four sessions of surgery, morphine, rest, post-operative infection, daytime TV, and physiotherapy has resulted in my returning to work with only a fleeting memory of what work really means; thus, I have been grateful for the type of job that fate has sent my way in the last couple of weeks. They have mostly been the kind of routine jobs that I have done a hundred times before and always the kind of job that has a good success rate.
Apart from the pain and stiffness, I enjoyed the break from routine, but now that I can once again hold a screwdriver, I’m back at the coal face hoping to ease myself gently back into the rigors of working life.
The more the easy kind of job comes up, the more chance there is that the next one will be a stinker. This usually happens on the days when you are pressed for time and are relying on being able to clear each job quickly and move onto the next one. I have planned tomorrow’s activities, and the trend looks to be continuing, at least for one day.
I need some time to catch up on the outstanding paperwork; there is always a slew of new procedures, requests for information, forms to fill in, and new ways of doing things to get up to speed. What I really need is a meeting with my nearest colleague so that he can fill me in on the changes.
Although I work for one of the world’s largest companies, I am in a strange situation in that, because I work from home and cover a specific area of the country, I will often go weeks without seeing another person from the company. Mostly they are just voices on the phone. We often call each other for advice or to get help with jobs we can’t get to, so it is a strange working relationship. With this in mind, we have a conference call every Monday morning to catch up and arrange times to get the routine work done.
I need a few hours off the system this week. I have to complete some on-line forms about personal development and go through the contents of my spares box. It is this kind of thing that we discuss at the voice conference.
I’m sure that there are plenty more people who work remotely from coworkers, and I would be very interested in finding out about the methods that other remote workers use to keep up with the goings-on at the head office.