Why Every Business Needs Occupational Therapy

As the title of this article tells you, we’re talking about occupational therapy today. The main focus of the post is to explain why your business needs this service. We’ll explore the benefits of occupational health from an employer and employee standpoint. 

Rather than jumping into things straight away, we ought to take some time to discuss occupational therapy (sometimes referred to as occupational health) in more detail. This will help you understand what we’re talking about so the rest of the article makes as much sense as possible! 

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What Is Occupational Therapy?

As described by WebMD, occupational therapy helps people deal with daily activities when they have an injury, health issue, or chronic medical condition inhibiting their abilities. It’s designed to empower these people with the necessary skills to live and move more independently, allowing them to go about their lives with as little pain as possible. 

How Does Occupational Therapy Fit Into A Business?

From a business point of view, occupational therapy is often an outsourced service (though some build in-house occupational therapy teams) aimed at helping employees who struggle to work. 

The key point here is that the employees are struggling due to health-related issues. Again, this can be an injury or medical condition that stops them from doing their job properly. An occupational therapist will see the individual, conduct assessments, and make notes of their findings in special occupational therapy software. Using software means they can immediately send the information to managers in the business, keeping everyone in the loop and demonstrating what needs to be done to help the employee get back to work. 

Why Does Your Business Need Occupational Therapy Services?

Occupational therapy is one of those things you don’t think about when starting a business. Indeed, many small businesses don’t need this service as they don’t have many (or any) employees. 

Nevertheless, it’s a service you will benefit from – and it’s worth its weight in gold. To demonstrate this, here are some of the biggest advantages of providing occupational therapy services at work: 

Maintain A Healthy Workforce

The key role of occupational therapy is to help businesses maintain a healthy workforce. Without this service, the health and well-being of your workers can go downhill. They’ll have nobody to go to when they have health concerns, meaning one of two things will happen: 

  • They keep plugging away and run themselves into the ground, or;
  • They quit their job

Neither is a great outcome for a business owner; you want your workers to be as fit and healthy as possible. There’s a common misconception that occupational therapy is only useful when someone injures themselves or has a medical condition. In reality, having these services can help you identify ways to prevent health-related problems at work. The occupational health team can assess your workplace and point out ways to improve the way it’s organized to help your employees. 

This can reduce injuries at work while keeping people happy and healthy. After all, a healthy team is good for workplace morale and can lead to even more benefits for your company. 

Improve Workplace Productivity

What else happens when your employees are happier and healthier? The morale is high, but this also leads to improvements in workplace productivity. Sometimes, this is possible simply by an occupational therapist providing ergonomic workplace suggestions. They see that a lot of people are complaining of back or neck pain, so they suggest improving everyone’s workstations. 

Suddenly, your employees are at standing desks with ergonomic office chairs and screens kept at eye level. It improves their posture while they work and can reduce their pain. As a result, they have fewer things nagging away in the back of their minds. The usual aches and pains aren’t there, so they’re more focused on their tasks. 

Moreover, the occupational therapy team helps you prevent injuries at work. This limits downtime from said injuries, so you have more time to plow ahead and work productively. If your business is constantly interrupted by employees getting injured or complaining of aches and pains, occupational therapy holds the key to unlocking your true potential. 

Keep Absences To A Minimum

Following on from talking about injuries and downtime, occupational therapy clamps down on absences at work. By all means, people will need to take time off for sickness at some point. Multiple employees will catch a cold or fall ill with the flu at least once a year. This is normal – but it’s not normal to always be low on staff because people are either injured or need a break to recover from aches and pains. 

As a business owner, you want to keep absences to a minimum. Paying someone for being off sick feels like you’re throwing money away. Yes, they deserve to be paid, but from your perspective, you’re spending money on someone who’s not contributing to your business while they’re off. 

Occupational therapy will reduce absences in two key ways: 

  • It helps provide preventative measures to stop people from needing time off
  • It offers ways to recover faster when issues arise

We’ve already spoken about the preventative nature of occupational health, but what if someone gets injured through means that are out of your control? This injury could happen in their spare time while they’re at home, or perhaps they develop a chronic medical condition. Having a good occupational therapy team will ensure these people get the assistance they deserve. Their problems are listened to and the occupational health team creates a list of things both they and you can do to get them back to work as soon as possible. 

This could include rehabilitation exercises for the individual or writing referrals to other health specialists. More importantly, it will involve providing business owners (you) with ways you can help the person get back to work as quickly as possible. Thus, you minimize absences and keep your business ticking over. 

Reduce The Employee Turnover Rate

Your employee turnover rate is the percentage of employees leaving your organization during a specific period. As noted by Forbes, this period is usually quarterly or annually. The goal is to keep this rate as low as possible – it’ll mean hardly anyone leaves your company, so you’re retaining your workforce. 

Why is this important? 

Retaining a workforce means you have lots of people working together for longer periods. It aids productivity and efficiency as people get to know one another and understand what’s required from their roles. You form a more cohesive unit where everyone knows what’s needed for the good of your business. 

On the flip side, a high turnover rate means you’re constantly changing staff. It’s hard to get into a rhythm as you’re always training new people and having to deal with onboarding. All cohesiveness goes and your business feels like it’s fighting a constant battle to stay afloat. 

How does occupational therapy help in this regard? Well, think about why your turnover rate might be high. Most people quit their jobs when they don’t feel valued or cared for. This could mean they have issues that aren’t being looked after, or maybe they feel like your business is running them into the ground. 

Either way, occupational therapy services can prevent these ill feelings. You give your employees an outlet to go to when they have health concerns. Additionally, occupational health services encourage you to re-adjust your business and make it more employee-centric. You cultivate a culture that puts employee well-being front and center, making your company a better place to work. 

In other words, people will enjoy working for you as they feel valued and cared for, so they’re more likely to stay around for many years to come. 

Save A Lot Of Money

Many of the points we’ve discussed bleed into this final one; occupational therapy can save your business a ton of money. Look at the previous point as an example. Reducing your employee turnover rate means you save money on all of the following: 

  • Severance packages
  • Onboarding training
  • Recruitment & interviews

Holding onto just one or two employees for more than a year can save thousands of dollars. Now look at the other benefit of occupational health; it reduces the risk of injuries in the workplace. In turn, this reduces the possibility of paying out on worker’s compensation for employees who do get injured working for you. 

The savings add up and appear invisible until you start looking at them. Occupational therapy looks like an unnecessary expense, but it quickly turns into a smart business investment. 

Summary

Taking all of this information into account, it’s a clever idea to provide some form of occupational therapy services for your employees. Most of the time, it’s better to outsource these services to save on the costs. Bigger organizations may need in-house teams, but occupational therapy goes hand in hand with HR in aiding your employees and providing them with a safer workplace. As demonstrated by all the benefits above, this isn’t something you should neglect any longer.

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