Motivation and well-being among individuals on long-term sick leave
Long-term sick leave has a profound impact on the individual’s life situation, while at the same time being costly for the employer and society. Although the goal for both the individual and society is the same – recovery – the road to recovery can be paved with both internal and external obstacles. Therefore, there are potentially major gains to be had from an individual and societal perspective, in gaining more knowledge about the well-being of employees on long-term sick leave and their motivation for returning to the labour market. Including what supports those on long-term sick leave and what prevents them from returning to work.
Previous studies, including studies from the Job Satisfaction Knowledge Centre (VGA) and Kraka, show a significant positive correlation between employees’ job satisfaction and their physical and mental health. However, there is a lack of knowledge about how long-term sick leave affects an employee’s well-being and motivation to return to work. This includes whether there is a difference in motivation among employees on long-term sick leave with physical and mental illness and which obstacles each of the two groups face upon returning to work. The Job Satisfaction Knowledge Centre (VGA) wants to shed light on the connection between sick leave resulting from physical or mental illness and motivation to return to work.
Epinion has conducted a study of employees on long-term sick leave using a mixed-method design. Firstly, statistical analyses of the motivation and well-being of employees on long-term sick leave have been prepared based on survey results from the target group. Secondly, Epinion has followed 14 employees on long-term sick leave for 2.5 weeks following a mobile ethnographic study in which employees on long-term sick leave have documented their everyday lives in video and images on a digital platform. Together, the two analyses have provided insight into similarities and differences among employees on long-term sick leave resulting from physical or mental illness with regard to job satisfaction and motivation. In addition, the analysis indicates where the union has an opportunity to play a larger role than it does today.