Working with your condition: Advice for employees

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Work is good for our health and wellbeing.

It gives us a sense of purpose, helps to build confidence and self esteem, contributes to our happiness and rewards us financially. Although people living with injury, illness or disability may experience barriers to work and require additional support to find and sustain employment, the benefits of work far outweigh the challenges. If you’re living with an injury, illness or disability, you’re not alone.

1 in 5 people in Australia have a disability – that’s 4.4 million people.

Although only half of working age people with disability in Australia are employed, of those who are working, 83% do not need time off because of their condition.

Key advice about managing your condition in the workplace

Feeling challenged? You’re not alone

If you’re experiencing challenges with performing work tasks or feeling confident in your abilities, you’re not alone. Most people experience some form of concern, nervousness or lack of confidence at work. Remember that everyone feels overwhelmed or unsure sometimes. Especially in the first few days and weeks of starting a new job.

Here’s the secret – you CAN do it.

Get to know your team

Building strong relationships with your work teammates will not only make work more enjoyable, it will lead to a more productive team.

Open up (if you feel comfortable)

Once you’ve established those relationships, you might choose to be open with your team about your condition.

It is totally up to you – you’re not required to share information about your condition (unless it has workplace health and safety implications) but being open about your injury, illness or disability will lead to greater understanding and awareness.

It will also lead to better support and ultimately, stronger relationships and friendships with your teammates.

Get the right support

All employees are entitled to reasonable adjustments to support them to perform their role.

Whether this is physical modifications to the workplace, special equipment, training, flexible/part time hours or simply ongoing support – you are your own best guide. Know what you need and don’t be afraid to ask for it.

If you need support or guidance with making a request for support or adjustments, your employment consultant can help.

Know your limits

If your injury, illness or disability has an impact on your health and wellbeing needs at work, be aware and proactively manage this. You are your own best guide. While there are people available to assist, you know yourself best – trust yourself and look after your own health and wellbeing first.

Know your rights

You are not required to share information with your employer or teammates about your condition – unless it has an impact on health and safety. If your employer or a team member asks inappropriate personal questions about your condition, don’t feel pressured to answer. If you need advice about your rights, speak with your manager, HR department or employment consultant.

We all know the amazing feeling of getting a great job: The excitement, the sense of pride and the feeling of optimism about the future. If you’re living with an injury, illness or disability, finding work can be life-changing. When you start that new job, be confident in your ability and the fact that your employer chose you.

When you come across challenges – know that support is available and that the benefits of work far outweigh the challenges.


Ready to find your next job?

We have assisted thousands of kiwis to gain new skills and secure work. You might be recently out of work, needing confidence building and interview practice, have a health or disability challenge, or maybe you are switching fields and need support accessing funding for licenses or short courses.

We will work with you on a personalised plan to help you prepare for, find and maintain work.

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