While you might be under the impression you need to wait until your employee is fully recovered after an injury to return to work, often the longer the employee stays off work the less likely they are to return.
WorkSafe Victoria’s new Getting Back campaign promotes the importance of returning to work as a key part of the recovery process, using the tag ’There’s nothing like getting back for getting better’.
’Helping injured employees get back to safe work as soon as possible is not only good for their rehabilitation; it's good for your business. It can ensure you retain important skills and knowledge, help you maintain productivity levels and employee morale, and keep the cost of your WorkSafe Victoria insurance down’, stated WorkSafe.
In our recent article on maintaining engagement with your injured worker, we outline how regular communication is an important part of ensuring an employee’s successful return to work.
Below, we follow on with some tips from WorkSafe to get your employee back to work:
- Set a date: It can be valuable for an employee to have a return to work date to work towards. Start planning with the employee and their health professional as soon as practicable to assess possible timeframes on when they may be fit for some duties.
- Get organised: Ensure you have everything ready for your employee’s first day back. If they are returning in a different capacity, ensure they have a buddy and are provided with suitable training if required. Make sure their team knows they are returning to work and in what capacity, so there are no surprises.
- Glass half full: Stay optimistic and focus on what your employee can do, rather than what they can’t. Slowly build on this over time to help them stay motivated and show them how far they have come in their recovery.
What happens if you can’t get back?
There may be instances where you are unable to provide your employee with suitable duties during their recovery. Occasionally, employees may also experience a sense of injustice or an aversion to the workplace as part of their trauma.
In these situations, continue to work with GB and engage regularly with the employee and their health professional.
Ideally, you want to resolve any issues directly with your employee; however, you are required to have a formal issues resolution procedure in place if the relationship breaks down.
If your workplace doesn't have an issues resolution procedure in place, you should use WorkSafe's Return to Work Issues Resolution Procedure.
For more information on the return to work process and how to proactively aid your employee to get back to work, talk to GB.