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Return-to-Work Strategies

When an employee is injured while on the job and they are unable to work at full capacity in their normal role, this not only affects their wellbeing and income, but also this can have a major impact on the employer. Just one worker out on leave presents risks to your productivity, revenue and overall employee morale. There is a correlating relationship with the number of days an employee is away from work and the decreased likelihood that they ever return. Instead of sitting back and taking a passive approach to lost-time claims, there are proactive ways to get employees back to work faster: Flexible Scheduling Especially if an employee’s injury requires medical appointments or impacts their energy levels, modifying their schedule can be valuable to both employee and employer. Depending on in the injury, it may make sense for the employee to maintain their regular role, but with a different schedule. This may mean fewer hours or working a day shift instead of a night shift. It can be helpful to gradually increase hours over a reasonable period of time. You could also consider where they are scheduled to work. If their role can realistically be performed remotely, which would fall within their doctor’s guidelines for recovery, this can be a way to keep your employee engaged. If their work must be performed onsite, certain injuries can be mitigated by relocating where they work on campus due to lighting, noise or other factor. Place the Employee in a Another Position If an injury prevents an employee from doing their normal job function, you can offer they temporarily or permanently work in another position while they heal. Obviously, it would need to be a position that doesn’t go against their doctor’s orders. It’s also important that proper training is given as well, which will help to prevent another injury. Effectively Communicate with your Employee Ongoing contact while an employee is on leave helps them to still feel connected to their role and the workplace. This communication should not be investigative in nature, but supportive and helpful. An injured employee whose employer shows genuine interest in their wellbeing is more likely to want to return to work. Speak with the injured employee and see if you can gain a better understanding of their limitations, as well as additional obstacles they may be facing at home as a result of their disability. Transparent and regular outreach can help employer and employee to determine a modified duty role that best suits everyone if it’s possible.