B1 – 90 Garry St. Winnipeg, MB R3C 4H1 - Phone: (204) 478-6644, Fax: 204-478-6677 - info@indep.ca

Archive for August, 2014

6 Ways To Assist With An Employee’s Return To Work

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Mentor Series - Good WorkAs you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult to return to work after a long layoff. This is especially true if the absence came as a result of a significant injury or illness. Firstly, it should go without saying that a person’s priority becomes his or her health when such an unfortunate circumstance occurs. So, quite often, one’s daily tasks at work become so far from the mind, they are often forgotten by the time rehabilitation is complete.

But once a person’s physical health has returned to some semblance of normalcy, his or her emotional well-being also needs to be considered. Even if an employee is physically ready to take on the tasks of his or her position at work, he or she is still likely to encounter some trepidation about working again. As a result, there are many things that employers and co-workers should consider in order to help a returning worker with the transition back to the job.

1. Keep in touch. As long as you have the person’s permission, it’s a great idea to keep in contact during the absence from work. According to Mark Swartz of Monster.ca, it’s important to “stay in touch with the affected employee in order to monitor their progress. Reassure them that their job is waiting for them when they’re released to return to work.” Often, people who are unable to perform their regular duties worry about ever being able to do so again.

2. Have a chat. The first couple of days back on the job are bound to be tough for the employee. It’s important to make him or her feel as welcomed back as possible. Shepellfgi.com advises that you “welcome the worker back, discuss how responsibilities were handled during their absence and if there have been any changes to the role…This is also an opportunity for your employee to open up about any concerns or issues, while giving you a chance to offer your support and empathy.”

3. Prepare for the return. Welcoming an employee back to work after a long period of time isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It needs to be planned for. The job the person is coming back to may even have changed. Swartz writes that “it could take you weeks or even months to plan for the return of an employee. Roles may have to be assessed. Workloads need to be reviewed. And job descriptions, possibly schedules too, might have to be modified.”

4. Get your team ready. Reintegrating an employee back into the flow of things at work is a team effort. It will require the cooperation of an entire staff to make its returning team member feel comfortable with reassuming his or her role. “Try to keep your staff updated,” says Swartz, “Then, at least a few weeks ahead of the affected worker’s return, inform your employees. Let them know what to expect and announce changes (if any).”

5. Be accommodating. There may have to be a number of changes made to a returning worker’s schedule. His or her workstation may need to be modified. As well, the duties outlined in the employee’s job description may have to be reassessed. Shepellfgi.com notes that you may need to consult the employee’s physician or other health professionals to fully understand what the employee can and can’t manage.

6. Break them in slowly. Naturally, rushing a person to his or her old self isn’t advisable. As Swartz reminds us, “the longer someone has been away on disability leave, the less you should demand of them right away. Give them time to regain their footing. After all, they may have a new schedule, role, equipment and assignments to deal with. Set reasonable deadlines and provide a supportive environment.”

Analyzing Our “Job Demands Analysis” Service

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Portrait of a happy female employee carrying laundry basketA job well done – this is essentially the primary goal of just about every employee in the work force. No matter the industry or type of business, employees are called upon to put forth their best efforts in order to complete tasks with the utmost efficiency. For the most part, workers wish to perform admirably at all times. But, it certainly helps when they are given the appropriate means to complete their jobs to their best abilities.

This is especially important for people who are returning to work after a long absence. When someone has been recuperating from an illness or an injury, it stands to reason that the demands of his or her job are far from being prioritized at the time. Once the recuperation is complete, however, individuals need appropriate time and training to get re-assimilated with their duties. At Independence Incorporated, we offer a service that takes this into account.

It’s known as Job Demands Analysis or JDA, for short. And, as part of this service, we analyze a number job components that are essential to the safe and effective returning to work of employees. Just as importantly, these components are reviewed so that employees can return to work as productive individuals who are given fair opportunities to put forth the necessary efforts that allow them to achieve great successes. Here are few of things we look at.

Physical components. Some jobs require physical labour, and as a result, it can be quite strenuous on individuals who haven’t performed certain tasks for a long time. We analyze such tasks as lifting, lowering, carrying and pushing. We also take a look at the pulling efforts that may affect posture, mobility requirements, aerobic efforts, repetitive motion efforts, shift exposures (frequency and duration), critical tasks and ergonomic concerns.

Environmental components. What is the environment of the work area that employees are returning to? Is it a high-stress environment that involves a lot of noise-inducing hustle and bustle, or is it a fairly quiet workspace? Is it a well-lit open space or is it a somewhat dim, tightly-squeezed corner of an office? Is it air conditioned or hot and stuffy? We analyze such conditions of any given workspace to make sure that it is conducive to safe and productive work.

Sensory components. What senses are workers using the most for their jobs? As you can imagine, someone who works with computers may experience strain on their eyes by viewing a screen all day. Depending on one’s physical condition, this may cause unnecessary harm. On the other hand, a loud environment can also create issues for certain individuals. Ensuring that workspaces are kind on the senses is key.

At Independence Incorporated, we feel that our Job Demands Analysis service is extremely helpful to both businesses and their employees for a number of reasons. Firstly, it assists with a clear communication of responsibilities on the part of both parties. Outlining standard operating procedures is important so that no employee returns to work unclear of what is expected. Accurate job descriptions are encouraged so that all tasks are clearly defined.

As well, we identify high-risk tasks so that we can foresee any potential difficulties by way of ergonomic problems. We ensure that proper training is implemented so that all requirements of the job can be completely effectively. The JDA also helps to develop specific rehabilitation and return to work processes, define work schedules and educate new hires. For more information about our “Job Demands Analysis”, please feel free to call us at 204-478-6644.