Individualized plans help with return to work

Clear goals, time frames, definitions key to process – and help reduce costs
By Nancy Gowan
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/23/2013

Being off work can be bad for your health. Worklessness — being off work due to an injury, illness or inability to work — leads to poorer physical and mental health, a loss of self-worth and self-confidence, poorer social integration and more medical care. It has been calculated to have the same negative health impact as smoking 10 cigarettes per day.

“What really matters in work is the social context. We need to change the culture of work, stop focusing on the potential toxic impact of work and understand that long-term worklessness is one of the greatest risks to health,” said United Kingdom researchers Nicholas Kendall and Kim Burton in their 2007 paper Advising Patients About Work: An Evidence-based Approach for General Practitioners and other Healthcare Professionals.

There are both direct and indirect costs to time lost from work due to injuries. Direct costs include medical costs, compensation and insurance, replacement workers and overtime, training, recruitment and administrative charges.