A return to work program focuses on helping employees who are returning to the workplace after an injury or sickness find meaningful and suitable work. The program's objective is to help the worker quickly and safely return to their pre-injury or pre-illness job through partnership. The procedure is not about making a diagnosis, and medical privacy must always be respected. All staff members should be informed of the specifics of the overall return to work program (ideally, before it is actually needed). Everyone's roles and expectations are understood because to the open communication.
Are RTW programs and RTW for mental health different?
When preparing for a return to work following a mental illness, the guiding principles are quite similar to those that would apply in the case of a physical ailment. The plan's emphasis should be on the worker's functional abilities rather than the causes or symptoms of the accident or sickness. Although you don't need to establish a second RTW program, be sure that your current one can accept employees who are returning after absences due to mental illness. It's critical to establish and maintain a secure and encouraging work environment. By concentrating on both the psychosocial risk factors and physical risks, such an environment can be produced. But keep in mind that the worker could have different feelings and experiences than someone who is injured and away from work. When employees miss work due to a mental illness, they could worry about bothering others, or they might feel rejected, lonely, or ashamed. Additionally, they can be concerned about harassment and associated stigmas. It should be discussed how the absence will be justified and what details will be shared with the rest of the team throughout the planning stages.
Who participates in RTW planning?
The employee who is returning to work, the management, human resources, and the treating healthcare provider should all be included in a thorough return to work plan. The return to work plan entails a shared obligation between each participant.
What are the fundamental actions in an RTW program?
Every RTW lodging will be unique. Some of the actions below won't be required in every circumstance or according to how long the employee has been gone. The employer can choose meaningful employment and duties that are appropriate for the individual based on a functional abilities or fit to work form that has been completed. Make a clear plan that includes expectations, tasks, deadlines, and dates for key milestones. Before they return, go over the plan with the person. Engage the person and find out if they see any potential problems with the idea. Reviewing any organizational, departmental, or procedural changes that might have taken place while the person was away from the office is also a good idea during this preparation phase. Complete an orientation checklist after the person returns to work. Any processes, departmental, or organizational changes should be covered in the orientation. This should ideally be discussed before the person arrives. Tell the group that the employee will be coming back so that they may organize any necessary retraining and give them a warm welcome. Be accessible to assist the team as necessary. Avoid allowing rumors to spread and engaging in other rude behaviors that can create stigmatizing situations at work. Review the return to work plan throughout your first two weeks back. It's crucial to follow up with the returning employee to find out how they're doing and whether they require any further accommodations in order to continue performing their job duties. At predetermined intervals, the employee should examine the plan to make sure the job is still appropriate and that a gradual progression to full duties can be accomplished.
How do you choose the proper adjustments and tasks for your return to work?
Based on the worker's present functional ability, accommodations should be made. Options discussion is a collaborative procedure that involves both the individual and their health care provider. In order to determine the optimum ""fit to work"" status, sharing completed job descriptions and assessments with the healthcare professional can be beneficial. Remember that a diagnosis or specific treatment information is not required to be shared. Put an emphasis on the organization's needs as well as the current capabilities and functionality. Make check-in dates and benchmarks. Asking about issues before the absence and what might come up now that they are back at work will help when talking about accommodations. All requests for accommodations must be made sincerely, and efforts must be taken to fulfill them. However, the employer might not be able to comply with a request, and not all requests could be appropriate. In order to find appropriate tasks and adjustments for each individual, circumstance, team, and workplace, collaboration is key.
What kinds of accommodations are there?
Flexible scheduling for medical appointments, working less hours, or allowing for more regular breaks are a few examples of adjustments. alterations to the workspace that take the individual's demands into account in terms of noise, space, light, and other aspects that may have an impact on mental health, wellbeing, and focus. If requested and practical, permit the employee to work from home. Schedule the job throughout the day taking into account the person's level of energy and focus. Change how directions and criticism are communicated. Written directions or weekly meetings are a couple of examples. To ensure success with the job or the RTW strategy, hold additional meetings. Help the person set priorities for their tasks and activities. This stage could involve dividing the work into manageable chunks or getting rid of any duties that aren't absolutely necessary. Modify job responsibilities, for example, by swapping small assignments with other employees. Reviewing training requirements and offering any required retraining or reorientation Give people extra time to learn things, or train them one-on-one. Use modern tools like noise-cancelling headphones to lessen the impact of loud noises, a recording device to help with memory problems, or a lamp in place of fluorescent lights to help eliminate flicker. Offer a career coach, such as a colleague, a member of human resources, or a third party organization.
Is a reassessment of the RTW program necessary?
You should constantly assess and analyze your program, just like you would with other parts of your workplace health and safety program, to search for areas that could be improved."""