Providing return to work and ongoing support
BLUEPRINT FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PROVIDE RETURN TO WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
The mental health and wellbeing of workers is key to organisational success and sustainability. A policy that establishes, promotes and maintains the mental health and wellbeing of all staff through work practices encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing is vital.
Developing a suitable duties plan that includes tasks different to a worker’s usual duties allows workers to return to the workplace as soon as possible. It is also important that those who work closely with the worker are informed so they understand the change in duties and can provide the worker with support.
OUTREACH TO INJURED WORKERS WHILE OFF WORK
Support and understanding after a work-related injury or illness is important and can often set the foundations for a worker’s recovery. Simple actions can go a long way to helping a worker feel comfortable about coming back to work, for example staying in touch with them while they are away from work, calling them to find out how they are doing, inviting them to meetings or functions, and sending newsletters and announcements so they remain informed.
PEER SUPPORT NETWORKS
Encouraging work colleagues to keep in contact with the worker (via visits, text messages and calls) will help the worker feel like they are wanted back in the workforce.
Workers experiencing mental health issues will most often recover best in a supportive work environment. Analysing the worker’s current ability will help determine what a worker is capable of doing so that their work can be designed around their ability (rather than focusing on what they are currently unable to do). This will likely lead to faster at-work recovery and the worker returning to their normal duties sooner.