Impaired recovery among employees
Results from a representative survey in Germany
In recent years, the subject of recovery from work has become increasingly important in research and at the workplace. Experiencing difficulty with properly recovering from work can be an early warning sign for potential deterioration in health.
The present study seeks to provide an overview on the prevalence of experiencing difficulty with recovering from work among employees in Germany. In addition, impaired recovery from work was examined across different occupational groups and how this relates to various employment characteristics and health-related issues, such as work ability, exhaustion and depressive symptoms.
Analyses were carried out on representative data from the first wave of the study on mental health at work (S-MGA) consisting of 4201 employees who are legally required to make social security contributions in Germany.
The findings reveal that 13 % of the study participants experience difficulty with recovering from work. Employees who have long or irregular working hours and those with fixed-term contracts are the most impaired in their ability to recover from work. Difficulty with recovering from work most often occurs in employees in managerial or supervisory positions and in occupations with interactive work. As difficulty with recovering increases, the proportion of employees with symptoms of exhaustion, depressive symptoms and reduced work ability also rises.
This analysis provides initial evidence for identifying occupational groups at risk for experiencing difficulty with recovering from work. Such experiences can be associated with reduced work ability and impaired mental health. Therefore, the conditions for recovery during and after work should be taken into account within the scope of risk assessments.