There is a huge range of desks, mice, keyboards, monitors, pads, wrist rests, headsets and phones available to help those who find it difficult to manage with standard desktop equipment.  Much of it is easy to purchase, cheap and easy to use so if it enables you to get someone back and fulfilling their role a week or two early, it is probably worth it.

Voice recognition software is at the slightly more expensive end but a highly effective tool. It is often seen as the answer for desk bound employees returning to work after absence with chronic upper musculoskeletal problems.   It is easy to set up and use and can significantly reduce the amount of typing and keyboard use. Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance is the market leading software and their current version is v11.5.  The premium edition is available for about £100 directly from Nuance or their distributors including Amazon and various other outlets.

However, there are often challenges to overcome.  It can be problematic in a busy open plan office – for colleagues as much as the user, as the user is spending most of their time talking to their PC. It may be easier if the user has their own office or can be seated in a quieter corner of an open plan office with some screens.

Although compatible and usable with most Windows applications I would recommend some training.  This will cost a few hundred pounds but saves a huge amount of time in learning all the tricks and tips for easier use and ensures it is set up properly from the start.  It also might not work for you if you have some weird and wonderful bespoke systems that might have been around a few years.

If the employee can be sat in an area where talking to their computer will not cause a riot, it can make a massive difference.  You will have someone back at work and probably working faster than the rest of the team once they have got the hang of it. Location, location, location is the key though.