How Problem Solving Decreases Instances of Mental-Disorder-Related Sick Leaves
The coronavirus pandemic has taught us two important lessons: that mental exhaustion is real and that specific measures need to be undertaken to counter or mitigate its effects on our biological systems. A few remarkable examples include corporate employees moving away from toxic work environments to maintain their overall sanity.
Toxic work cultures produce many undesirable consequences—from employees quitting their full-time jobs to working professionals taking medications for blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, or even type 2 diabetes. Therefore, promoting mental wellness at work is critical.
Researchers from the Teikyo University Graduate School of Public Health, Japan, recently designed a novel experiment. They identified a manufacturing company in Japan that had a traditional corporate hierarchy and introduced meaningful occupational health interventions—steps undertaken to prevent or treat job-related injuries and illnesses. More specifically, the researchers identified mental disorders as the recurring reason behind employee sick leaves and devised a novel strategy to combat it.
To this end, the researchers studied several cause-and-effect relationships by focusing on the engineering department of the manufacturing company. To facilitate this further, they conducted a scientific literature review by considering the exact context. During the study, the researchers identified unprofessional or outdated corporate practices as the primary triggers that resulted into an unusually high number of mental-disorder-related sick leaves.
Next, the team collaborated with the occupational safety personnel and outlined a plan of action. Accordingly, they identified “problem solving” as an effective approach and decided to implement it.
After the successful implementation of this novel approach, the researchers noticed a decrease in the overall instances of mental-disorder-related sick leaves; although results from the engineering department were slightly inconclusive.
In summary, this study demonstrates that a problem-solving approach may be effective in preventing sick leaves resulting from work-related mental disorders. Building the right occupational health infrastructure can pave the way for employee wellness.
Link to the original journal article:
Development and application of a problem-solving approach to prevent sick leave owing to mental disorders in a manufacturing company
You Hwi Song, Eiji Yano
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