What is your perspective?
When accidents happen, companies generally want you to return as soon as possible. Who makes the decision that you are ready to go back to work, the doctor or the employer? Most people may be inclined to say that the doctor would, but that is usually not the case. And what if the patient has not returned to full functional ability yet? Pressure from bosses and having financial security can force injured workers back into their work before they are ready and this will only hurt the employee in the long run. The Bureau of Labor statistics indicates that 1.2 million employees lost an average of seven days due to their injury or illness.
- Employees: Employees are more likely to return to work if they feel like their workplace has a high standard for occupational health and safety. The workplace must keep employees aware of their rights and responsibilities in the return to work and compensation process. In addition, an employee must feel like their compensation claim is not disputed in their workplace.
- Employer: The employer must consider if the employee feels that they are ready to return, what accommodations may be needed and how to manage the transition of returning to the workplace. When returning to work, things must be properly planned in order to ensure the integration of employee back to workforce is smooth
- Here are some considerations:
- A ‘clearance to return to work’ note may be required by the treating physician
- The employee may have fears about the return after a long absence
- The employee may have a hard time getting back into the swing of the workload
- Changes may have been made in the workplace since the employee has left, which may be a hard adjustment for the employee
- Here are some considerations:
- Physician: The effectiveness for returning to work is highly influenced by the cooperation of the employer. The doctor or physician must communicate with the patient and employer about the possible modifications that may need to be made to duties at work or in hours worked. The medical professional’s opinion can be helpful and accommodating when making recommendations to the employer.
- Companies: In order to get employees back to work in the most effective way, a few things must be considered such as creating a return-to-work policy in the first place. Assessing the ability of the employee to perform functions, having good relations between the employee and employer and providing information on how returning workers should be treated by employees and employers in the workplace.
These are a just a few examples to keep in mind that may affect return to work planning. It is important to plan accordingly and assess your current methods. Being able to understand your own perspective as well as the perspectives of the other parties will help in the management of employees when this situation arises. Understanding the methods will help to integrate an employee back into the workplace.
Nova Medical Centers are experts in occupational medicine, serving the workforce for over a decade to keep companies productive and profitable. Nova has a 98% same-day return to work rate. Their successful approach is effective communication with the patient, employer, and payor to improve patient’s recovery, enhance the global experience and reduce the time to return to work full duty.
Written by: Jessica Hurd