People suffering from depression can manage their depression better if they attend office rather than taking a sick leave, claim scientists in a new study.
The collaborative study between the University Of Melbourne, and the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania is the first 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.
Lead researcher Dr. Fiona Cocker said a greater understanding of the costs and consequences of both absenteeism and presenteeism would allow for more informed recommendations to be made to the benefit of employees and their employers.
Researchers calculated the costs based on lost productivity, expenses associated with medication and use of health services and the cost of replacing an employee who was absent from work and unwell.
Cocker said that the information was important for employers, health care professionals and employees faced with the decision whether to continue working or take a sickness absence. It suggested that future workplace mental health promotions strategies should include mental health policies that focused on promoting continued work attendance via offering flexible work-time and modification of tasks or working environment.
Workplace programs and modifications might also have positive, long-term effects on health and well-being via the maintenance of a daily routine and co-worker support.
Finally, the exploration of these outcomes in blue and white collar workers allows work attendance recommendations to be tailored to specific occupation types. These methods also have the potential to be adapted to other health conditions where work attendance behaviour is affected, such as diabetes or heart disease.