At some point, an employee is going to need to take a leave of absence from work. From maternity leave to a death in the family to an injury that has sidelined them altogether, the reasons are wide-ranging. This is where an effective return to work (RTW) program needs to be established and monitored at companies of all sizes.
Having an effective RTW program can positively impact the overall performance of the employees as well as the company as a whole. These programs can help an injured or disabled employee maintain productivity while they recuperate, thus protecting their earning power and helping out the output of the company they work at.
Here are some helpful components of what makes an effective return to work program:
1. A Relationship with Medical Providers
By establishing a solid working relationship with medical providers who will take the time to understand a business, you will encourage better facilitation of an RTW program. Someone who has taken a leave of absence has a better chance of returning to work when there’s a medical arrangement in place.
2. Updated Job Descriptions
It’s important to update job descriptions to reflect the physical requirements of the job. Companies can send various job descriptions with the employee to take to their doctor’s appointment, which helps them determine what tasks they can do.
3. Cost Savings
When a worker is given RTW opportunities, accident-related expenses are reduced and their work routine becomes part of their therapy, even if tasks are limited. This makes the way for a faster and healthier recovery.
4. Job Modification
Before an injured employee or someone who went on leave comes back, preparing for job modification is important. There are built-in cost savings related to returning to work early as offers to return to alternate work provide that potential when they’re made in time to prevent a medical-only claim. This helps to avoid a claim from becoming a lost-time claim.
5. Coaching Other Employees Who Will Be Working with the Recovering Employee
Doing this will help provide built-in support and camaraderie between employees. Managers should tell employees what the recovering worker’s duties are and how long their assignment will last. Also, coming up with solutions as to how they can assist the recovering employee can go a long way.
6. Adaptive Equipment
Modifying a work site or office environment to accommodate an injured or recovering employee can help save money in the near future. It keeps the employee productive during their recovery and reduces the likelihood that a company will need to hire a replacement or will face legal action.
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