According to the findings of a recent research, it may be more beneficial for workers to better manage their depression to continue working while suffering from a depressed illness rather than taking a sick leave from work due to illness.
The first ever study to estimate the long-term costs and health outcomes of depression-related absence as compared to individuals who continue to work among employees with depression in Australia was a collaborative effort between the University of Melbourne and the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania. The study was the first of its kind to take place in Australia.
A greater understanding of the costs and consequences of both absenteeism and presenteeism, according to the lead researcher Dr. Fiona Cocker of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, would allow for more informed recommendations to be made to the benefit of employees and their employers.
She said, "We found that continuing to work while experiencing a depressive illness may offer employees certain health benefits, whereas depression-related absence from work offers no significant improvement in employee health outcomes or quality of life." "We found that continuing to work while experiencing a depressive illness may offer employees certain health benefits."
"The costs associated with depression-related absence and attending work while depressed were also found to be higher for white collar workers, who also reported poorer quality of life than blue collar workers." [Citation needed] "The costs associated with depression-related absence and attending work while depressed were also found to be higher for white collar workers."
The researchers determined the costs by factoring in lost productivity, the expenditures of medicine and the use of health services, and the cost of replacing a person who is away from work due to illness.
"This is vital information for workers, employers, and health care providers (such as general practitioners) who are confronted with the dilemma of whether or not to continue working while unwell or to take a sick leave. It suggests that future workplace mental health promotion strategies should include mental health policies that focus on promoting continued work attendance by offering flexible work-time and modification of tasks or working environment. This can be done by offering a variety of options "— I quote her.
Through the maintenance of a daily routine and the support of coworkers, workplace programs and alterations may also have good impacts that are seen over the course of a longer period of time on health and well-being.
Last but not least, the investigation of these effects in both blue collar and white collar employees makes it possible to customize suggestions for work attendance to various kinds of occupations.
These strategies also have the potential to be extended to other health disorders, such as diabetes or heart disease, in which job attendance behavior is impacted.