Did you know people with an injury or illness recover quicker when they return to work as soon as possible?
Work is good for our health – and an important part of recovery.
Work has many physical and mental health benefits which are a type of therapeutic intervention for people recovering from an injury or illness.
Helping someone return to work after an injury
Research shows that people generally recover quicker (and have less long term health issues) when they return to work as soon as possible.
While every individual and situation is unique and there may be some limitations after an injury or illness, it’s not necessary to wait until your employee is 100% recovered before they return to work.
It’s important to remember that everyone is capable of work. Hours, duties and workplaces can be flexible and modified to suit each individual.
Here are some guidelines to help you to support your employee to get back to work.
Respond quickly and positively
Early intervention and timely, positive support from you as the employer is critical. Research shows you can directly impact long term outcomes through your communication style and behaviour during this time. Let your employee know that you’re there to support them and be specific about how you will provide that support.
Keep in touch
Regardless of how long your employee is away from work, keep in touch on a regular basis. This will make them feel supported and still part of the team.
Make a plan
Effective recovery and return to work requires an individual return to work (RTW) plan. You’ll need to work with your employee, HR team and RTW provider to create an appropriate RTW plan. This begins with identifying and removing barriers so your employee can get back to work in a positive, safe and timely manner.
Know your responsibilities
Beyond the RTW plan, one of the most valuable things you can do to support your employee in their return to work is to make sure they can return safely and without any negative treatment. Regardless of where or how the injury or illness occurred, it is against the law to discriminate against someone who has suffered an injury or illness.
Be flexible and open minded
Remember that work is good for our health and benefits recovery. Everyone is capable of work, regardless of injury, illness or disability.
As the employer, you need to be flexible and open minded about your employee’s return to work. You may need to make adjustments to the workplace to support their return to work. In many cases, the most common adjustment is flexible or part time hours.
A return to work process involves many different parties – the employee, manager/team leader, senior management, HR, a RTW provider, allied health professionals and the insurer. Working with all of these parties in a collaborative and cooperative manner will benefit your employee and your business.
WCG has more than 25 years’ experience supporting Canadian businesses through proactive injury prevention and managing the complexities of workers’ compensation and injury management.
We provide return to work planning, specialist medical referrals, comprehensive case management, support to manage complex workers’ compensation and insurance claims and various assessments to support both the employee and employer in the return to work process.
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