In its February 2012 issue, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine outlines a program tested to measure improvements in work performance and productivity. The study, which took place over a 16-month period, followed 79 state government employees in Maine who demonstrated symptoms of depression. Ultimately, it revealed positive changes about at-work performance.
As part of the study, 27 participants (known as the usual care group) continued treating their depression independently, while the remaining 52 were assigned to the Workplace Health Initiative (WHI), a program that allowed patients to call a hotline as needed and to have one-hour appointments in therapy every two weeks.
While those continuing with routine care did not see a significant change in work performance or productivity, those assigned to the WHI group saw vast improvements in both areas. Time management went from being impaired 44.9 percent of the time to 26.8 percent, an 18.1 percent difference. Similarly, mental and interpersonal tasks, defined in the study as tasks that require an employee to create original material or interact with others, as well as physical tasks improved by 10.9 and 11.8 percent, respectively.
Overall, employees participating in the WHI group saw a decline in idle time spent at the office (6.8 percent, down from the previous rate of 10.2 percent). “The WHI was superior to usual care in helping employees with depression function more effectively and productively,” according to the study.