2017-09-01 12:00 - Messages

How do line managers experience and handle the return to work of employees on sick leave due to work-related stress?

A one-year follow-up study
PURPOSE: To examine how line managers experience and manage the return to work process of employees on sick leave due to work-related stress and to identify supportive and inhibiting factors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 15 line managers who have had employees on sick leave due to work-related stress. The grounded theory approach was employed.
RESULTS: Even though managers may accept the overall concept of work-related stress, they focus on personality and individual circumstances when an employee is sick-listed due to work-related stress. The lack of a common understanding of stress creates room for this focus. Line managers experience cross-pressure, discrepancies between strategic and human-relationship perspectives and a lack of organizational support in the return to work process.
CONCLUSION: Organizations should aim to provide support for line managers. Research-based knowledge and guidelines on work-related stress and return to work process are essential, as is the involvement of coworkers. A commonly accepted definition of stress and a systematic risk assessment is also important. Cross-pressure on line managers should be minimized and room for adequate preventive actions should be provided as such an approach could support both the return to work process and the implementation of important interventions in the work environment. Implication for rehabilitation Organizations should aim to provide support for line managers handling the return to work process. Cross-pressure on line managers should be minimized and adequate preventive actions should be provided in relation to the return to work process. Research-based knowledge and guidelines on work-related stress and return to work are essential. A common and formal definition of stress should be emphasized in the workplace.

Source: Ladegaard, Y., Skakon, J., Elrond, A. F., & Netterstrøm, B. (2017). Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2017.1370733

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