For most people, it's rare that a working day goes by without wishing for a little more time off. But don't let your wandering thoughts fool you – when feeling at your lowest, there's nothing quite like good dose of hard grind to lift your spirits.
At least that's what a group of scientists at the University of Melbourne say. According to them, going to work while feeling low can help people get over sadness and manage their moods much more easily than taking time off work to do something else.
In an attempt to understand the work environment and its impact on the mental health of employees, they studied a group of people in Australia and compared the long term costs and health outcomes of skipping work versus continuing to work when feeling depressed.
Lead researcher Dr Fiona Cocker said the study found continuing to work in these situations was beneficial for an employee's mental health, while skipping work did not benefit the employee at all.
"We found that continuing to work while experiencing a depressive illness may offer employees certain health benefits, while depression-related absence from work offers no significant improvement in employee health outcomes or quality of life," she said.
When someone takes time off work it is ultimately more expensive for all parties involved, both in terms of lost productivity and increased medication and treatment expenditure.
“This is important information for employers, health care professionals and employees faced with the decision whether to continue working or take a sickness absence,” she said.
“It suggests that future workplace mental health promotions strategies should include mental health policies that focus on promoting continued work attendance via offering flexible work-time and modification of tasks or working environment.”