Ways to influence recovery at work
For most people with a workplace injury, time off work is not medically necessary. In many cases, with minor and temporary job modifications, your worker can recover at work. Consider the following factors that can influence a worker’s recovery at work.
Work provides valuable benefits including social interaction, job satisfaction, skill development and learning opportunities. It plays an important part in maintaining a worker’s usual routine. Talking to your worker about these benefits may encourage them to resume normal activities and routines so they can recover sooner.
If a worker is unable to perform their usual work hours, they may be eligible to receive weekly compensation payments. These payments allow workers to focus on their recovery and are structured to encourage timely recovery at work.
Research shows good communication throughout the recover at work process is critical to achieving a successful outcome. If a breakdown in communication occurs or you foresee a risk to your worker recovering at work, think about requesting help as soon as possible either by discussing your concerns with your insurer or contacting the Customer Service Centre on 13 10 50.
Sometimes the actions and behaviours of co-workers can have a negative impact on a worker’s recovery at work. It is important to manage expectations by keeping co-workers informed while maintaining confidentiality and putting appropriate measures in place to prevent and manage unhelpful and inappropriate behaviours.
Workers from other cultures may have different values or belief systems that could impact on the way they respond to and cope with various situations. Awareness of this will help avoid misinterpretation of your behaviours or actions and any misunderstanding that may occur. If you foresee that cultural differences may impact on the recover at work process, discuss your concerns with your insurer or contact the Customer Service Centre on 13 10 50 for advice.
Beliefs about pain
Research shows that when recovering at work, an increase in pain does not always equate to additional damage to the injury or a worsening of the condition. Some increase in pain is to be expected. However your worker may believe their pain is harmful and may avoid activities they expect to be painful.
Conflict can occur when you identify opportunities to assist your worker to recover at work and your worker perceives your action as uncaring because they believe they are unwell. You may want to help your worker get back to a normal everyday life that includes work but your worker may believe they should rest at home until they are 100 percent fit.
When addressing these issues it is crucial you remain supportive. We recommend you advise your worker to discuss their concerns about the impact of their duties on their pain with their doctor. You can also seek assistance from an approved workplace rehabilitation provider.
You and your worker may have concerns about the possibility of re-injury or aggravation of the existing injury during the implementation of your recover at work plan. It is best to start your recover at work planning early, gradually and consistently increasing your worker’s activity over time. This approach has been shown to reduce the risk of re-injury or progression to a chronic pain condition.