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Assessing job demands

Doctors are usually asked to fill out forms from employers or insurance companies about an employee’s ability and readiness to return to work.

Based on your doctor’s recommendations, your employer will determine whether or not there is a job ready for you or if they can make the necessary changes for you to return. Also, the insurance company can decide whether you are eligible for insurance payments.

To better fill out these forms, your doctor will benefit from knowing the specific requirements of your job. It is important that you provide this information, so the doctor can make the best recommendations. Insurance providers often ask all of your healthcare team about your ability to work, so it is a good idea to tell them all about any physical, mental or emotional challenges and how they will affect the work you do.

Example:

“My customer service position normally requires me to stand behind a counter for several hours at a time. I write down the details of the customer’s complaints, clarifying what has happened and what they want the store or manufacturer to do about it. This job can be challenging, due to the amount of standing and the background noise within our location. It can also be emotionally draining because many of the people I deal with are upset, angry and at times demanding. Also, we often have no rest between customers, as there are often long line-ups during many of the weekend shifts.”

There are many ways to assess the demands of your job:

  1. job analysis
  2. estimate a typical workday
  3. review the essential and non-essential duties on your job description
  4. complete a task analysis worksheet
  5. use information from the National Occupational Classification system to analyze your job

After you have assessed your work abilities, you can compare them to your job demands and in particular, the essential tasks required of the job. This will help you decide if you can meet the job’s demands and complete its essential tasks.

By comparing your abilities to your job requirements, you will be able to:

  • better understand your strengths and limitations
  • communicate these honestly to employers, insurers and co-workers
  • start to identify things that help you function at work
  • realize that there are already some aspects of the job you can do
  • give you a sense of your abilities if you need to change jobs