Resilience training in the workplace

This review identified 14 studies that investigated the impact of resilience training on personal resilience; mental health and subjective well-being outcomes, psychosocial outcomes, physical/biological outcomes, and performance outcomes. Resilience training can improve personal resilience and helps develop mental health and subjective well-being. Resilience training has some wider benefits that include enhanced psychosocial functioning and improved performance. However study limitations and lack of consistency in resilience programs means that the evidence is tentative, with the exception of a large effect for mental health and subjective well-being outcomes. Most programmes utilize a cognitive-behavioural approach to developing resilience. At this stage, there is no definitive evidence for the most effective training content or format, but it would appear wise to include an element of one-to-one training and support based on individual needs.

Does mindfulness work?

Mindfulness is the process of paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. In the early stages of mindfulness training, awareness of breathing is typically used as an attentional anchor to regulate ruminative thinking, but mindfulness encompasses more than observing the breath. Evidence is most convincing for its use in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Evidence suggests that mindfulness based interventions (particularly mindfulness based stress reduction and cognitive therapy) are mildly to moderately efficacious in treating chronic pain. Findings may be influenced by a form of“popularity effect.” This is a difficult confounding variable to control for because it is almost impossible to blind patients from the fact they are using mindfulness techniques. Shonin E, et al. BMJ 2015 Dec 29;351:h6919.

Associations of sitting behaviours with all-cause mortality

Sitting time does not increase the risk of mortality independently of time spent doing moderate to vigorous-intensity physical exercise (MVPA), results from the Whitehall II study of London-based civil servants reveals. Participants reported their weekly hours of sitting time, giving estimates for: work sitting (including commuting); sitting while watching television; leisure-time sitting not watching television; total leisure-time sitting; and total sitting time. None of the sitting categories was associated with all-cause mortality after controlling for personal, lifestyle and employment factors, including MVPA. These results are not consistent with previous findings linking sitting time to all-cause mortality.
International Journal of Epidemiology, 2015; online first: doi: 10.1093/ije/dyv191.

Dose-response association between leisure time physical activity and work ability

Intensive leisure-time physical activity is associated with higher work ability (WA) among workers doing physically demanding work, analysis of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study reveals. WA is a measure of a worker’s physical and mental capacity in relation to the demands of their job. The study investigated workers who did a physically demanding job. After adjusting for gender, age, lifestyle, work-related factors and chronic disease, those doing at least five hours a week of high-intensity physical activity scored eight points higher on the WA scale, with a significant dose–response effect. Low-intensity leisure activity was not associated with WA.
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2015; 43(8): 819–824.

Disease-generic factors of work participation of workers with a chronic disease

A systematic review of studies of workers with chronic disease supports the hypothesis that work retention and return to work are influenced by several factors. Personal factors negatively associated with work retention included: female gender; age > 55 yrs; and younger age (20–24 yrs). Workplace environment and financial considerations were also negatively associated with work retention. Those who predicted that they would return to work were more likely to go back to work.
International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health 2015; 88(8) 1015–1029.

Work-focused cognitive–behavioural therapy to increase work participation in common mental disorders

An ‘at work and coping’ (AWaC) intervention combining work-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with supported employment helped improve work participation in workers struggling with mental health problems. Participants in the AWaC group were offered up to 15 sessions of CBT. Individuals in the control group received ‘standard’ treatment from their GP with a letter providing information and encouraging the use of self-help resources. Participants in the AWaC group were significantly more likely to have maintained or increased work participation at 12 and 18 months.
Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2015; 72: 745–752.

Workplace interventions to prevent work disability in workers on sick leave

There is very high-quality evidence that workplace interventions can reduce total sickness absence in workers with chronic illness, compared with ‘usual care’, according to this Cochrane systematic review of 14 randomised controlled trials and meta-analysis. The interventions variously included altering the working conditions, equipment, design and environment, and, in 12 of the studies, case management involving the worker, manager and an OH professional. Mean cumulative absence after 12 months was 166 days for the usual-care groups; this was reduced by 33 days in the intervention groups.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015; 10: CD006955. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006955.pub3.

Interventions to enhance return-to-work for cancer patients

There is moderate-quality evidence that multidisciplinary interventions combining physical training and/or vocational counselling, with patient education and/or counselling can improve return-to-work (RTW) rates in cancer patients, this Cochrane systematic review finds.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015; 9: CD007569. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007569.pub3.

Menopause in the workplace: What employers should be doing

Large numbers of women transition through menopause whilst in paid employment. Symptoms associated with menopause may cause difficulties for working women, especially if untreated, yet employers are practically silent on this potentially costly issue. This review summarises existing research on the underexplored topic of menopause in the workplace, and synthesises recommendations for employers.