If you readers are anything like the RTWMatters workforce, some of you will be reading this in trackie-daks rather than business slacks. Brewing your own instead of relying on baristas. Interrupted mid-thought not by work colleagues but ankle-twining cats. 

We're a work from home bunch: although to be accurate some of us work on the road, in the air, wherever we can find the time (and a good-enough internet connection).  While we love the flexibility and freedom of our 21st Century set-up, we understand that working from home brings challenges as well as benefits.

It's fairly common for injured workers to work from home during recovery. This newsletter, we tease out the advantages and disadvantages of working from home, and share pointers for being productive, happy and safe while doing so.  We've devoted three articles to the topic, combining our personal experiences with research and theory. Check them out below.

We also share a webinar from one of our friends at the Insurance Work Health Group at Monash University, Michael di Donato. Michael explains the results of a study he recently led, tracking  Australian systems of income support for people with health-related work incapacity. Policy wonks are advised to tune in - and of course trackie-dak aficionados  are more than welcome too.

Happy reading!

Ten benefits of working and recovering at home


 Gabrielle Lis

How might injured workers benefit from a stint of working from home, before returning to work?

1.It's more flexible. A lot of the items on this list are linked in some way to the increased flexiblity afforded by working from home. There's flexibility in terms of when you work, how you work, what you wear, how you structure your day... Some people chaff under the rigid routines of a 9-5 workday, and they're likely to feel happier and more empowered when they have more say over their working hours and conditions.

Ten challenges of working and recovering at home


 Gabrielle Lis

Some injured workers will return to work at home before they get back to the physical workplace. Understand the challenges to help them thrive at work away from work.

1. Working from home is more stressful than coming into the office / workplace. According to Eurofound and the International Labour Office, 41% of people who work remotely feel stress versus 25% of office workers. This may seem counter-intuitive, but read on: there are plenty of ways in which poorly managed remote work can make life more difficult... 2. Social isolation and loneliness can easily set in.

(Home) working it!


 Gabrielle Lis

Accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives of remote work, with this strategic guide to making the most of working from home

We know that some of our readers work from home; we also know that many of you will at some point deal with injured workers who are working from home during the recovery period. Remote work brings challenges as well as opportunities (link). Here are ten strategies for promoting the positive and managing the negative.  1. Be realistic about personality. A few people are just naturally really good at working from home.

Webinar recording: The cross sector project -Mapping Australian Systems of Income Support for People with Health-Related Work Incapacity


 Michael Di Donato

Michael Di Donato reports on the project undertaken by the Insurance Work and Health Group, Monash University.

About the webinar In Australia during the 2015/16 financial year an estimated 786,000 people who were unable to work due to ill health, injury, or disability received income support. This support was provided through a complex array of government authorities, private sector insurers, and employers. The Cross Sector Project mapped ten major systems of income support in Australia. This presentation will cover the following aspects of the Cross Sector Project: Health-related work incapacity in Australia Plotting a map of Australian systems of income support – determining the structure, stock, and flow Income support system service delivery – who provides what? Data sources in income support systems – centralisation, standardisation, analysis, and gaps Upstream and downstream opportunities for the future About Michael Di Donato: Michael Di Donato is a Research Officer and PhD candidate in the Insurance Work and Health Group, Monash University.

National News

You need to know about pregabalin

Published on November 29, 2018

Pregabalin (sold as Lyrica) is a drug commonly prescribed for patients on workers' compensation. Its intended use is as an anti-epileptic and a painkiller for nerve pain.  According to new research, "ambulance call-outs associated with the misuse of pregabalin have increased tenfold in Victoria since 2012" . There's growing evidence that the drug is being misused, and prescribed unnecessarily. The researchers write, "Pregabalin is often prescribed for chronic or persisting pain, for example, even when there is no clear nerve-related cause." New evidence also suggests that it is addictive. "Pregabalin is a high-risk medication, especially when used with other sedatives. Although some doctors are aware of the side effects and harms associated with pregabalin, many are not."

So your colleague has said, "No, I'm not ok..."

Published on November 29, 2018

In this video link, co-founder and non-executive director of RUOK, Graeme Cowan, spells out his acronym of support for friends and colleagues who tell you they're not doing well. Graeme uses the acronym I CARE: Identify Compassion Access appropriate support Revitalise work Exercise. Follow the link to know more.

What does it take to be an effective regulator?

Published on November 29, 2018

"At its most basic level, regulation is used to control risks that lead to societal problems," writes Dariel de Sousa, on legal blog  Lexology. So what does it take to be an effective regulator in workers compensation? The short answer: focusing on desired outcomes (e.g. timely RTW), managing high risk compliance areas (e.g. fraud), managing high risk entities (e.g. for-profit insurers) and prioritising resources effectively - as well as constantly monitoring and evaluating how well you're actually controlling all those risks. Food for thought!

VIC News

SafeScript tackles doctor shopping for medications

Published on November 30, 2018

On October 2, the Western Victoria Primary Health Network launched SafeScript, Australia’s first comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system. Prescription records are transferred in real-time to a centralised database, which doctors and pharmacist can access during consultations. All Schedule 8 medicines (controlled drugs with strict legislative regulation) and other high-risk medicines are included. According to the TAC, "The system will facilitate the early identification, treatment and support for patients who are developing signs of dependence".

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Upcoming Events
Mon 18th Feb 2019,

Crown Melbourne 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006

20th Annual National Workers' Compensation Summit

Australia’s leading platform for legislative updates and workers’ compensation case studies

Wed 27th Feb 2019, 10:00am

400 King William Street, Adelaide

Managing Psychological Injuries Towards Better Outcomes - Return To Work Coordinator Skill Building Workshop

This workshop provides an overview of the impact psych-injuries can have within the workplace, and includes strategies on how to better support and understand psych-injury claims arising from employment.

Mon 04th Mar 2019,

Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne

NDS Victorian Conference 2019 - Registrations due to open 4th December 2018

‘From Obstacles to Opportunities’ defines our focus: working together to understand where we’ve come from and where we want to go as a sector.

Wed 08th May 2019,

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth

WorkCover WA Conference 2019 - Register your interest

The Conference theme, ‘Facing Forward’ extends an injury management focus to broader themes relevant to workers' compensation. The inevitable change of tomorrow will be explored and speakers will inspire you to adopt the necessary skills

Tue 10th Sep 2019,

Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Safety in Action: The Return to Work Conference

Supporting our workers towards safe, productive and sustainable return to work









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