What is transitional work? Why is it important for an organization to have a program in place? For some, these might seem like simple questions with simple answers; however, it depends on many factors like organization size, culture, nature of the business, and available resources.
Transitional work has three distinct formats. Regardless of which type of transitional work is being provided, the key points are that they are time-limited (temporary) opportunities, require stakeholder collaboration, and provide meaningful and productive work within the worker’s current capabilities.
The most common type of transitional work is the gradual return. The worker is transitioning back to work with some modifications in tasks, hours, or workdays. The goal is to progressively increase all of these until returning to normal work duties and schedule.
Within the scope of transitional work is modified duties. This is where the worker is following their usual schedule and either receiving support for some of the required tasks or having some of the work eliminated to support recovery.
Transitional work will be adjusted as the worker recovers as the objective is a full time and full duty return to the pre-injury job. Maintaining contact with the worker and documenting the check-ins will allow you to revise the work as needed.
A clear and promoted transitional work program will save you money by avoiding time loss claims and demonstrate to your workforce that they are valued. This increases retention; lower turnover means less recruitment and training costs.