10:02 pm September 28, 2018

New Workplace Study: Empathy for Injuries Speeds Return to Work

Source: Dee Daley

Trucking and TransportationA new study from the Institute for Work & Health and Australia’s Monash University reveals the importance of a supervisor’s initial reaction to a workplace injury. When it’s empathy and reassurance instead of skepticism and blame, it makes a big difference in whether or not the employee successfully returns to work.

The research team found that respondents who reported a supportive supervisor reaction were 2.3 times more likely to have returned to work than those who received an initial negative reaction. Because supervisors are often the first to learn about workplace injuries,  it is important they show they’re sympathetic and willing to listen to the worker. Read the study here.

This becomes an easier job when supervisors have a ready resource to help them first understand the injury — an onsite physical therapist. With licensed therapists right at your job site, advice and care is always at hand. Because they understand job demands, they can judge whether treatment is necessary, explain what to expect, and administer treatment right at your facility. Here are some specific ways they can help supervisors:

How Onsite Therapists Promote Empathy with Employees

  1. Therapists can help reduce the stress of conversations between employees and supervisors, helping clarify common misunderstandings and consulting on options for return to work.
  2. If physician visits, physical therapy and/or pain management are called for, therapists can facilitate communication so everyone is on the same page.
  3. The employee, therapist and supervisor can visit the employee’s worksite together to exchange ideas on movement and options for modification.
  4. Employees feel they have an advocate when discussing work adjustments, and can trust their onsite therapist’s recommendations when they have established integrity in the workplace.

Onsite therapists become familiar faces around the workplace, so your employees will ask for and trust their counsel. Frequently, injured employees will seek aid from them, facilitating a joint discussion of next steps, work modifications and, if needed, medical referrals between the employee and supervisor.

Since empathy plays such a major role in how fast an employee returns to work, it’s worth investing the time to help supervisors understand its impact. Let them know that what may seem like a small step will pay off in huge dividends. For more information on faciliatiing that discussion, contact WorkWell today.

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