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  • 1.
    Dunstan, Debra
    et al.
    University of New England, Australia.
    Mortelmanns, Katrien
    Department Research and Development, Occupational Health Services 'Group IDEWE', Belgium.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    University of Waterloo, Canada .
    The role of co-workers the return-to-work process2015In: International Journal of Disability Mangement Research, ISSN 1833-8550, E-ISSN 1834-4887, Vol. 10, p. 9-16Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is a large body of research examining work disability management and the return to work (RTW) of sick or injured workers. However, although this research makes clear the roles of the returning worker and supervisor, that of the co-workers is less well understood. To increase understanding of this topic, we have identified, reviewed, and discussed three studies that emerged from our connection with a Canadian research-training program. The first study, conducted in Sweden by Tjulin, MacEachen, and Ekberg (2009), showed that co-workers can play a positive rolein RTW, but this is often invisible to supervisors. The second study, undertaken by Dunstan and MacEachen (2013) in Canada, found that RTW could both positively and negatively impact co-workers. For instance, co-workers may benefit from learning new skills, but may also be burdened by the need to assume extra work to accommodate a returning worker. The third study, performed in Belgium by Mortelmans and Verjans (2012) and Mortelmans, Verjans, and Mairiaux (2012) reported the need to include the expectations and objections of co-workers in RTW plans and implemented a three-step RTW tool that involves co-workers. Taken together, these studies highlight the social context of work, the positive roleplayed by co-workers in the RTW process, the impacts of workplace social relations on RTW outcomes, and the benefits to all of involving co-workers in RTW plans. 

  • 2.
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Selander, John
    Mittuniversitetet, Sweden.
    Müssener, Ulrika
    Linköpings universitet, Sweden.
    Sociala kontakter - på gott eller ont?2014Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Syfte

    Studien syftade till att studera om sociala kontakter med arbetsplatsens aktörer under en sjukskrivning har betydelse för förväntningar om att kunna komma tillbaka i arbete

    Metod

    Studien genomfördes som en enkätstudie till anställda som varit sjukskrivna i mellan 60 och 90 dagar, vilka identifierades via Försäkringskassans register. Totalt svarade 534 individer (48%). Enkätstudien kombinerades med en fördjupad intervjustudie med sjukskrivna, arbetsledare och arbetskollegor.

    Resultat

    Majoriteten av de sjukskrivna hade kontakter med arbetsledare och arbetskamrater. Sjukskrivna med sämre hälsotillstånd, sjukskrivna i psykiska besvär och utlandsfödda hade färre kontakter med arbetsledare och arbetskamrater. Multipel logistisk regressionsanalys visar att främst kvaliteten i kontakterna, mätt som stödjande, konstruktiva och engagerade kontakter, med både arbetsledaren och arbetskamraterna, mer än fördubblade chansen att den sjukskrivne har goda förväntningar om att kunna återgå i arbete och att kunna kvarstå i arbete.

    Intervjustudien understödjer resultaten från enkätstudien i betydelsen av kvaliteten på de sociala kontakterna för en framgångsrik rehabilitering tillbaka till arbete. Förutsättningarna för hur en arbetsledare förhåller sig till den sjukskrivne medarbetaren påverkas av arbetsledarens egen situation. Det är vanligt att chefer är rörliga i arbetslivet, en långvarigt sjukskriven medarbetare kan därför ställas inför situationen att det är en helt ny chef som hon eller han förväntas kommunicera med, och den nye chefen har ingen personlig relation till medarbetaren. I det föränderliga arbetslivet kan en arbetsledares arbetssituation vara tidspressad och det blir lätt att prioritera bort det egna ansvaret för att hålla kontakten, arbetsledare betonar ömsesidigheten i ansvaret.

    Konklusioner

    Kvaliteten i kontakterna mellan sjukskrivna och deras arbetsledare och arbetskamrater är viktigare än demografiska faktorer och självskattad hälsa och arbetsförmåga för den sjukskrivnes förväntan om att kunna återgå och kvarstå i arbete. Det förekommer sociodemografiska skillnader i frekvensen av kontakter med arbetsledare och arbetskamrater, sjukskrivna med sämre hälsotillstånd, med psykiska besvär eller är utlandsfödda har färre kontakter.

  • 3.
    Selander, John
    et al.
    Mittuniversitetet, Sweden.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. Linköpings universitet, Sweden.
    Müssener, Ulrika
    Linköpings universitet, Sweden.
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Linköpings universitet, Sweden.
    Contact with the workplace during long term sickness absence and worker expectations of return to work2015In: International Journal of Disability Mangement Research, ISSN 1833-8550, E-ISSN 1834-4887, Vol. 10Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since long-term sickness absence constitutes a problem in most western countries, research that can facilitate return to work (RTW) is important. Today there is evidence that the social context at the workplace has a significant impact on return to work. The dual aims of the study was firstly to investigate the pattern and quality of contact between employees on long-term sick leave and different actors at the workplace, and secondly to investigate whether contacts with the workplace were associated with expectations regarding return to work. An explorative method and descriptive design was used for the first aim. For the second aim, the data was analysed in a multivariate logistic regression model. The results show that employees had frequent and, in most cases, appreciated contact with their supervisor and co-workers. Contact with other workplaceactors; that is, the occupational health unit, the union representative, and the human resources department, were less frequent. Employees who experienced the contact as supportive and constructive were far more positive and optimistic than others regarding return to work. It is concluded that supervisors and co-workers should be aware that they play a significant role in the return-to-work process, and that quality of contact is what matters.

  • 4.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    Linköpings universitet, Sweden.
    Experience of the implementation of a multi-stakeholder return to work programme2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 5. Tjulin, Åsa
    Kommunal samverkan i folkhälsoarbete inom ett storstadslän2004Other (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    Linköpings universitet.
    Validity issues in Qualitative Research2007In: Organizational Theory and Change Processes: Collected papers from a doctoral course / [ed] Westlander G., Linköpings universitet: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2007Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 7.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.
    Workplace Social Relations in the Return-to-Work process2010Other (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings universitet.
    Edvardsson Stiwne, Elinor
    Linköpings universitet.
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Linköpings universitet.
    Experience of the Implementation of a Multi-Stakeholder Return-to-Work Programme2009In: Journal of occupational rehabilitation, ISSN 1053-0487, E-ISSN 1573-3688, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 409-418Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet.
    Edvardsson Stiwne, Elinor
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Rehabilitering i Kommunen. En utvärdering av ReKom-projektet i Norrköpings kommun2007Report (Other academic)
  • 10.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Edvardsson Stiwne, Elinor
    Process Evaluation of a Swedish Workplace-based Return-to-Work Program.2008Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    University of Waterloo, Canada.
    The importance of workplace social relations in the return to workprocess: A missing piece in the return-to-work puzzle?2016In: Handbook of return to work: From research to practice / [ed] Schultz I. & Gatchel R, New York: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2016, p. 81-97Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The chapter elaborates how workplace social relations influence practice in the return to work process. The social conditions in which the return to work process is embedded, and the way social interaction and relations between the sick-listed worker and other workplace actors (supervisor and coworkers) evolve, have only been researched to a limited extent. In this book chapter, we will discuss critical new dimensions of social relations research in the field of return to work that can “make” or “break” a workplace return to work process. These critical new dimensions highlight the importance of viewing return to work as a dynamic process over time, where supervisors and coworkers display shifting roles depending on phases of the process. The chapter conveys new dimensions of social relations, acknowledging the positive contribution of coworker efforts in the process, which may have an important impact on workplace-based return to work interventions.

  • 12.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, ON, Canada.
    Edvardsson Stiwne, Elinor
    Linköpings Universitet.
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Linköpings Universitet.
    The social interaction of return-to-work explored from co-workers experinces.2011In: Disability and Rehabilitation, ISSN 0963-8288, E-ISSN 1464-5165, Vol. 33, no 21-22, p. 1979-1989Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose.The objective was to explore the role and contribution of co-workers in the return-to-work process. The social interaction of co-workers in the return-to-work process are analysed within the framework of the Swedish national and local employer organisational return-to-work policies. Methods. An exploratory qualitative method was used, consisting of open-ended interviews with 33 workplace actors across seven work units. Organisational return-to-work policies were collected from the three public sector employers. Results.The key findings that emerged during analysis showed that some co-workers have a more work-task oriented approach towards the return-to-work process, whilst others had a more social relational approach. In both situations, the social relations worked hand in hand with job tasks (how task were allocated, and how returning workers were supported by others) and could make or break the return-to-work process. Conclusion.A suggestion for improvement of return-to-work models and policies is the need to take into account the social relations amongst workplace actors, especially involving co-workers when planning for return-to-work interventions. Otherwise the proper attention to work arrangements, social communication and the role of co-workers in the return-to-work process might not be seen.

  • 13.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Canada .
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Linköpings Universitet.
    Exploring the meaning of early contact in return-to-work from workplace actors’ perspective2011In: Disability and Rehabilitation, ISSN 0963-8288, E-ISSN 1464-5165, Vol. 33, no 2, p. 137-145Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose.The objective of this article was to explore the meaning of early contact in return-to-work, and how social relational actions and conditions can facilitate or impede early contact among actors in the workplace. Method.An exploratory qualitative method was used, consisting of individual open-ended interviews with 33 workplace actors at seven worksites across three public employers in Sweden. The workplace actors represented in these interviews included re-entering workers, supervisors, co-workers and human resources managers. Organisational policies on return-to-work were collected from the three employers. Results.The analysis indicated that early contact is a complex return-to-work measure with shifting incentives among workplace actors for making contact. For instance, the findings indicated obligation and responsibilities as incentives, incentives through social relations, and the need to acknowledge and balance the individual needs in relation to early contact. Conclusion.The findings strengthen the importance of early contact as a concept with a social relational context that comprises more than just an activity carried out (or not) by the employer, and suggest that early contact with a sick-listed worker is not always the best approach for a return-to-work situation. This study provides a starting point for a more articulated conceptualisation of early contact.

  • 14.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet.
    Maceachen, Ellen
    Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, ON, Canada .
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Linköpings Universitet.
    Exploring Workplace Actors Experiences of the Social Organization of Return-to-Work2010In: Journal of occupational rehabilitation, ISSN 1053-0487, E-ISSN 1573-3688, Vol. 20, no 3, p. 311-321Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction There is a limited body of research on how the actual social exchange among workplace actors influences the practice of return-to-work. The objective of this study was to explore how workplace actors experience social relations at the workplace and how organizational dynamics in workplace-based return-to-work extends before and beyond the initial return of the sick listed worker to the workplace. Method An exploratory qualitative method approach was used, consisting of individual open-ended interviews with 33 workplace actors at seven worksites that had re-entering workers. The workplace actors represented in these interviews include: re-entering workers, supervisors, co-workers, and human resource managers. Results The analysis identified three distinct phases in the return to work process: while the worker is off work, when the worker returns back to work, and once back at work during the phase of sustainability of work ability. The two prominent themes that emerged across these phases include the theme of invisibility in relation to return-to-work effort and uncertainty, particularly, about how and when to enact return-to-work. Conclusion The findings strengthen the notion that workplace-based return-to-work interventions need to take social relations amongst workplace actors into account. They also highlight the importance and relevance of the varied roles of different workplace actors during two relatively unseen or grey areas, of return-to-work: the pre-return and the post-return sustainability phase. Attention to the invisibility of return-to-work efforts of some actors and uncertainty about how and when to enact return-to-work between workplace actors can promote successful and sustainable work ability for the re-entering worker. 

  • 15.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    The social challenges of a time scheduled early contact at the workplace in return-to-work. Oral presentation.2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 16.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    The social organization of return-to-work at the workplace. Oral presentation.2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Mittuniversitetet/Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
    MacEachen, Ellen
    University of Waterloo, School of Public Health and Health Systems, Canada.
    Larsson, Robert
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Bigelow, Philip
    University of Waterloo, School of Public Health and Health Systems, Canada.
    Vinberg, Stig
    Mittuniversitetet/Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
    Selander, John
    Mittuniversitetet/Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
    An International Online Work Disability Policy Course: How A University Partnership Became A Facilitator2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    So what?

    Our Masters and PhD students within the field of work disability prevention are part of a global economy where challenges and commonalities between nations need to be addressed. International learning collaborations can facilitate student movement from theory (e.g. about different social security systems) to praxis, through interactive knowledge exchange amongst peers (Loisel et al, 2009).

    An international on-line course can facilitate participation without the need for travel and additional related expenses is a way to foster student equity in higher education.

    What is the innovation?

    Our annual 10-week course, “What is fair? International perspectives on equity on work and health”, was first implemented in January 2019.

    The course, based on cooperation between Mid-Sweden University, University of Waterloo and Mälardalen University in Sweden and Canada, provides the students with unique learning opportunities to work with international peers on course work and group activities while learning about international systems and policy in relation to health, work and equity.

    Our partnership (with aims to expand) goes beyond the intention to provide an international learning environment; it also includes knowledge exchange between the universities. That is, the partnership includes co-operative development not only between faculty members, but also among pedagogical developers, international relations office administrators and librarians.

    The outcome?

    When we meet at the conference, we will have more to tell you about the specific course and experiences gained from faculty members, administrative members but foremost students who have undertaken the course.

  • 18.
    Tjulin, Åsa
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Müssener, Ulrika
    Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.
    Selander, John
    Mittuniversitetet, Sweden.
    Ekberg, Kerstin
    Linköpings universitet, Sweden.
    Learning experiences in return-to-work among workplace actors2015In: International Journal of Disability Management, ISSN 1833-8550, Vol. 10, p. 1-8Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The objective of this article was to investigate how individual learning emerges among workplace actors during the return-to-work process, and whether the prerequisites for collective learning at the workplace are present and managed by the actors. Learning in this context is viewed as a change in the preconceptions, experience or competence of the individual as a result of interactions in the workplace due to the return-to-work process. Method: A qualitative method was used, consisting of open-ended interviews with 19 individuals across 11 workplaces in the public and private sector. Inductive content analysis was performed. Results: The key findings from this study are that individual learning emerges in the returnto-work process due to previous experience, communication with other workplace actors, or insights into what works for the individual. However, the individual learning that occurs in the return-to-work process is not carried over into workplace learning due to barriers in understanding the needs and opportunities that may be present in the process. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that individual learning occurs within social practices through social interaction between the actors involved (workers on sickness absence supervisors and colleagues) and individual experiences. A greater knowledge of the factors that contribute to workplace learning could facilitate biopsychosocial and ecological return-to-work interventions, which allow workplace actors to draw on previous experiences from one return-to-work process to another.

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