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Is good work good for us?

It has been shown through multiple research reports and publications that good work is good for our mental and physical health and wellbeing. The quality of the job is important, so work is generally good for you provided you have a good job.

There is extensive evidence that there are strong links between unemployment and poorer physical and mental health and mortality (early death). Research shows that the longer someone is off work, the less likely they are to return to work.

GPs play a critical role in recovery and return to work. Having time off work, especially for a long term, significantly increases the rates of work disability and poor physical and mental health. Individuals don’t have to be 100% well to be at work.

Work can often be modified or redesigned to accommodate for the physical and mental changes and limitations for those who have an injury, illness or disability. Research has shown that good work can help in recovery from injury and illness.

Employees are two times more likely to return to work if they are given advice on how to stop the injury from happening again. Employees are three times more likely to return to work if they are given a return to work date.

Occupational Medical specialists in Australia recommend:
• Where practicable, people should be encouraged and accommodated to remain connected to the workplace while recovering from illness or injury, as this assist with shorter recovery times and prevents unnecessary disability.
• The spirit of inclusive employment practices should be embraced as it helps to reduce the risk of unemployment, social and economic inequality and associated poor health outcomes. The involvement in good work can promote social cohesion and increase peoples’ sense of contribution to society
• If injured or ill, best practice rehabilitation and injury management for workers should be promoted and where appropriate, people with chronic illness and disabilities should be accommodated in the workplace with a supportive work culture.
• A supportive working environment and good interpersonal relationships should be fostered at work to promote the mental and physical health and well-being of people. Good work promotes good health and increases productivity. Safe and healthy work practices have socioeconomic benefits for both business and the wider community.

To find out more about Occupational Medicine in Australia and good work being good for you visit:
Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine- Health Benefits of Good Work

To find out more about how the Australian Government can support people with injury, illness and disability return or stay at work visit: Job Access information at www.jobaccess.gov.au/people-with-disability/australian-government-support-work


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