The Importance of a Return To Work Program

how to keep your workplace safe - the role of employers and employees

In order to make returning to work after an injury as easy as possible for your employees, it’s important to have a program in place to help manage the transition. For employers, that means some simple planning to create an effective Return To Work Program along with ensuring that there is clear communication between all parties involved.

Below are 5 reasons as to why a return to work program is critical for your business:


  1. It helps you prepare

To help facilitate employees returning to work, you need to have systems in place to guarantee that everyone understands what is expected of them before the return date. A Return To Work Program helps you to prepare ahead of time.

An effective Return To Work Program should be individualised according to the needs of each employee. This is crucial to make sure returns are managed on a case-by-case basis, allowing for any new requirements to be met.


  1. It provides details

As part of the return to work preparations, it’s also vital to ensure there is an understanding between the employer and employee about the specific job requirements and expectations. A Return To Work Plan allows you to clearly define the job title, duties of the employee and any additional details.

This includes:

  • Core duties and tasks
  • Physical demands
  • Tools and equipment used
  • Daily workflow
  • Work systems such as breaks, timetables and work hours

By creating a comprehensive Return To Work Plan which lays out the details of the role, you can make sure that both you and the employee are aware of what is expected before the return date.


  1. It allows for clear communication

One of the major advantages of a Return To Work Program is that it allows for clear communication between the different parties involved.

As well as communication between the employer and employee, you may also need to cooperate with doctors and other health practitioners. This is especially important to confirm that the employee has medical approval before they return to work.

Similarly, it is crucial to communicate any changes to direct colleagues of the employee who is returning. In doing so, you should also aim to give space for employees to express any concerns and questions they might have. It is possible that Disability Awareness training may also be necessary.


  1. It lowers the risk of workers compensation costs

When communication between employers and employees break down, there is increased risk of workers seeking compensation for their injury. Return to Work Programs provide an actionable plan to help get employees back to work after an injury, reducing the likelihood of your business facing legal action and limiting the cost of disability benefits.


  1. It creates confidence among your employees

By creating a comprehensive Return To Work program, you can further demonstrate to your employees that you are invested in their wellbeing. It is a clear statement that you care about their welfare, which can help to boost confidence and employee engagement.

Effective Return To Work management relies on good planning and communication. To make the transition as smooth as possible, it is essential to implement a Return To Work Program to help you prepare and facilitate good communication, while generating confidence and lowering the risk of extra costs to your business.