Ask One Question to Set Return to Work Expectations

Study Reference: The Relationship Between Work-Disability Duration and Claimant’s Expected Time to Return to Work as Recorded by Workers’ Compensation Claims Managers


Hey there, Michael Stack here, CEO of Amaxx and Happy New Year to you as we start this fresh decade in January of 2020. Now, one of the cool things about this time of year as you’ve likely done some planning or some goal setting or setting some expectations for what you want to happen in this year and in this decade to come and maybe reflecting on what went well in the past year or the past decade that we just left behind.


As we started on this new year, I want to give you one quick tip and far as worker’s compensation return to work, a piece that you could integrate into your return to work program and just have that much more accurate expectations. If we think about James Allen’s book As a Man Thinketh, he says that basically what we think about has the greatest odds of actually happening and that is very true in workers’ compensation as well.



When Do You Think You’ll Return To Work?


There was a study in 2016 that looked at the correlation between the expected return to work times and then what actually happens and you’ll see a link to that study below here and I want to have you ask this question, when do you think you’ll return to work?


When do you think you’ll return to work? And the answers will be very accurate as far as the correlation. That’s what this study proved, and I’ve got to run through these numbers here quickly. It was 43% that expected they would be back to work. I’m sorry this is wrong. In less than seven days were accurate. So, 43% had the expectation. They said, yeah, I’ll be back to work in less than seven days. And they were accurate with their assessment. 22% said, yeah, I think I’m going to be back to work in greater than seven days. And they were accurate with their assessment. These are not ‘johnny on the spot’ as far as, okay, 95% of the time. But there’s a significant correlation and that’s the point of getting that understanding of what their expectation is and this one was the most accurate.



Expectations Predict Reality


This one was for people that expected that they would be out of work in greater than a hundred days or 181 days. There were actually returned room to work in seven days or less, so greater than 180 days. My expectation is I’m going to be out of work probably at least six months, you know, I can’t see myself getting back to work before then. Virtually none of them were back to work right away.


The point is, ask that question upfront, ask that question. When do you think you’ll be back to work? And you will get a pretty good indication as far as how to tailor your claims management strategies to that expectation to either help them along and confirm that, hey, you think you’re going to be back, let’s make sure you’re back. If you think you’re going to be out a lot longer, maybe we’re going to need some extra services on this such as nurse case management, etc, to help that claim move further along.


Happy new year to you. I’m excited for this year for you ahead to implement these best practices and see some of those tremendous results, because remember, your work today in workers’ compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line, but it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life, so be great.




Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .



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