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The Five Most Common Reasons That Employees Are Signed Off Work By Their Doctor

Every year, thousands of employees visit their doctor complaining of both physical

and mental ailments with the result that they are signed off work for a period of days, weeks or even months. Often these reasons are entirely genuine, however, in some instances it is questionable whether time off work is really the answer. Often problems - especially those related to stress in the workplace - can be resolved by employer and employee working together to make changes and improvements to the working environment. This article looks at the five most common reasons that employees are signed off work by their doctor.

1) Stress and anxiety.

This is often, but not always, related to work itself. People feel stressed and anxious about the amount of work they are expected to get done, targets they have to meet, colleagues they are required to work with on a daily basis and deadlines they are struggling to meet. This, along with pressures outside of work, such as mounting bills, families to look after and commitments to fulfil, can often leave a person feeling stressed, anxious and unable to cope.

2) Depression.

Many, many people suffer from depression to a wide variety of degrees, and at some levels the illness can be debilitating. It may be that the sufferer needs 'time out' from their usual work environment and, if they are given medication or other forms of treatment for depression (such as taking regular exercise), they may need time off work to allow this treatment to begin to work.

3) Back pain.

Back pain is extremely common and it is thought that 80% of all adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can be extremely painful causing the sufferer to literally be unable to concentrate on the task they are trying to undertake. Common causes of back pain include sciatica, slipped disc and ankylosing spondylitis.

4) Exhaustion.

Exhaustion is another symptom which can necessitate an employee being signed off work. It can often be impossible to recover from exhaustion without 'something giving' - i.e. a few days off work. Exhaustion can seriously affect people's judgment in the workplace, clouding the decisions they make and reducing their productivity.

5) Workplace bullying.

Often people visit their GP with stress, anxiety or depression resulting from bullying in the workplace. They may or may not inform their GP that this is the reason they are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. Whilst a week or two off work may help the employee get their thoughts together and regain their strength and confidence, workplace bullying can only really be dealt with by tackling the root of the problem. The employer and employee should work closely together to see how the situation can, if at all, be resolved.

In can be seen that there are several reasons that employees are signed off work by their GP, however, it is rare that close contact and communication between employer and employee cannot help resolve the situation, particularly where the absence is related to work.

Copyright (c) 2011 Robert Gray

by: Robert Gray
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The Five Most Common Reasons That Employees Are Signed Off Work By Their Doctor