Taking time away from work can come in many forms; a planned career break or unforeseen circumstances like taking care of a loved one, personal illness or injury on the job.
No matter how you slice it or how it comes about, having to leave work for any of the reasons life throws at you is already tough enough but the transition back to work most certainly doesn’t have to be.
As much as people might say it’s just like riding a bike, returning to work and functioning at full capacity again isn’t something that happens overnight, particularly if it’s a lengthier break. Skills, strength, stamina and more diminish over time, especially after an injury, and need to be sharpened again before injured employees can perform at the same level again and come back full time.
A Return to Work Program or RTW Program is the perfect tool to make that transition back as seamless and smooth as possible.
What Is An RTW Program?
Simply put, a return to work program is a defined and well-organized plan created to facilitate the reintegration of an employee who has had to leave work. It’s customized to that person’s needs and unique circumstances and meant to methodically rebuild their competencies and abilities in the job.
While it’s critical for anyone that has had prolonged time off to have some sort of returners program, even experienced workers, it’s all the more vital when it comes to injured workers. Those who are coming back from an injury, on the job or otherwise, often need the most assistance in getting back as soon as medically feasible. A Return to Work Program allows them to come back in a limited capacity and carefully transition back to full time/full ability work.
Why Is It Important for Businesses and Workers?
There are several reasons why returnship programs should be considered an important element to have in place for both employees and employers alike.
From an employee perspective, some of the core benefits are:
Getting back to work may be the number 1 goal but at the end of the day, safety is first. Having a program in place that prioritizes the safe return of a worker means they’ll be mitigating the potential for reinjury.
An approach that prioritizes safety means an injured worker can be confident that their best interests are at the forefront. That builds confidence in the process as well as the self-confidence that’s necessary to push through.
With confidence growing by the day, morale tends to improve in lockstep. Not only that but it deepens the sense of trust in the company and security in that person’s job.
Reacquire and Sharpen Skills
Perhaps most critically, and one of the main points of an RTW Program is to make sure an injured employee is getting those lost or diminished skills back up to 100%.
Your business benefits from having a Return to Work Program in place as well:
The longer an employee is out of work, the likelihood that you’ll have to potentially fill their absence grows and hiring and training can come with a steep cost. Return to Work Programs ensure you get them back into the swing of things, in a limited way, as soon as possible.
Keep Experienced Employees
It’s hard to quantify the loss of an experienced and valued employee, especially if they had a specialized skill set. Reintegrating them back as quickly as is feasible allows you to keep them on board.
Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs & Premiums
Getting an employee back as soon as possible through a medically-approved program will help lower your premiums and help control costs associated with workers’ comp claims.
At Pacific Rehabilitation, our RTW Pain Management Program (RTWPMP) offers restoration, rehabilitation and an improvement in the quality of life that helps employees get back to work safely and pain-free but also helps businesses maintain productivity.
Get in touch with us to learn more about what a Return to Work Program can do for you.