Worker Productivity | Depression Evaluation Measures
Worker productivity measures for depression1-8
Healthier employees are less likely to call in sick. Companies can sometimes assess sick day use to determine whether health programs are increasing worker productivity.
- Determine the average number of sick days per employee over the previous 12 months related to depression
- This measure may be less useful if there has been a large increase or decrease in numbers of employees over the past 12 months
- It may be difficult to measure when employees take sick leave directly related to depression, since employees may not report depression or even recognize they have depression. For example, they may have headaches, difficulty sleeping, or other symptoms of depression and report these problems as the cause of their absence. It may be more useful to measure sick leave related to formal counseling and treatment services
- Determine the costs of worker absenteeism related to depression, including costs of replacement workers, costs in training replacement workers, and loss and delay in productivity. See note above regarding difficulty of measuring absenteeism related to depression
- Determine time employees spend during working hours participating in worksite supported depression-related worksite programs
- Additional validated surveys have been developed to provide employers with information about the indirect costs of untreated or undertreated employee health issues such as depression. Employers who use these health and productivity surveys on an ongoing basis can begin to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of offering depression programs on employee absence or productivity. These surveys may be proprietary and may require a modest fee to use. Two examples are provided below:
- Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ) is a short, easy to administer self-report survey designed to estimate workplace indirect costs (absenteeism, reduced productivity, and injury due to accidents) of employee health problems developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Harvard Medical School
- The Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ) developed by the Health Institute at Tufts Medical Center is an easy to use questionnaire that addresses general work limitations which can be built into other health assessment tools such as a health risk appraisal or employee health survey
- Re-assess the average number of sick days per employee at the first follow-up evaluation See note above regarding difficulty of measuring absenteeism related to depression◦If employee education programs are successful, these measures may increase in the short term as screening and detection rates increase (This comment on education only applies to using sick leave or time off to obtain a clinical preventive service)
- Periodic repeats of baseline measures
- Assess changes in the average number of sick days per employee in repeated follow-up evaluations. See note above regarding difficulty of measuring absenteeism related to depression
- Assess changes in time employees spend during working hours participating in worksite supported depression-related worksite programs
- Assess changes in costs from baseline
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48(No. RR-11): 1-40.
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8. Rost K, Smith JL, Dickinson M. The effect of improving primary care depression management on employee absenteeism and productivity. A randomized trial. Med Care. 2004 Dec;42(12):1202-10.
- Page last reviewed: April 1, 2016
- Page last updated: April 1, 2016
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