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WP 2: Workplace-dialogue for a sustainable working life

Employers are responsible for promoting a good environment, preventing risks of ill health and adjust work tasks based on employees' mental and physical conditions. Unfortunately, employers often lack knowledge and strategies for how to act to prevent and rehabilitate work-related ill health (Danielsson 2017, Fagerlind 2018). Small organisations can be particularly vulnerable since the structure for the work environment management is less developed (Hagqvist 2020). Prior research has shown that a dialogue-based workplace intervention can promote return to work for employees on sick leave (Sennehed 2018). By facilitating a dialogue between the employer and the employee, both parts could gain a deeper understanding about the core reasons for sick leave and contribute to a positive re-orientation towards successful return to work instead of an endpoint of employment (Strömbäck 2020). In addition, the workplace-dialogue enhances employers' capacity to act in the complex and multifaceted return to work process (Eskilsson 2020). Still, little is known of how a workplace-dialogue and adjustments could be used as early preventive measures that enable a sustainable work situation, e.g. for older employees. In this work package, we explore how a workplace-dialogue could be used by employers to support employees with early signs of ill health and enable a continued sustainable work situation.

In addition to the fact that employers lack knowledge and strategies for how to act (Danielsson 2017, Fagerlind 2018), stress related ill health and long-term sick leave among managers are also increasing (Swedish Social Insurance Agency 2020). High demands and the limitless work imply that employers need to be able to lead themselves, and this can be part of the explanation for the increased ill health. Therefore, as a second aim, this study will investigate employers’ perceived stress and its significance for the work environment management.

Participating researchers

Therese Eskilsson
Associate professor, combined with clinical employment
Anna Sondell
Associate professor
Linda Widar
Postdoctoral fellow
Latest update: 2023-03-08